MILWAUKEE (WISN) — Managers of a restaurant where security guards were seen punching and kicking a man in a wheelchair have not paid more than $5,000 they owe to a man who successfully sued the restaurant in another attack by security guards at the restaurant more than 10 years ago, records obtained by 12 News Investigates show.
For the last decade, Julius Reinke has made the same plea with the same question: Where is his money?
“I don’t know. It’s in their restaurant,” Reinke said, referring to Jalisco on South East Cesar Chavez Drive.
Jalisco, which according to its Facebook page is the “Home of the Famous Burrito,” is the site of a video that went viral in September when security guards were captured on cellphone video kicking and punching Jesus Lopez as he sat in his wheelchair.
“When this happened to the gentleman in the wheelchair, yeah, it brings me back,” Reinke said from his living room couch.
He remembered going to the restaurant in 2007 and claimed security guards were more physical when they searched him compared to his friend as they entered. He recalled asking the guards the reason for the difference in force.
“I said, ‘Hey, why are you using so much force on me?’ And he’s like, ‘I’m doing my job,'” Reinke remembered of the exchange. “I said, ‘Well, you didn’t use so much force on my friend like you did me.'” Reinke said he and the friend went into the restaurant and ate with no problems.
He said things took a different turn when they were leaving the restaurant and walking to his car. He said by the time they left, the number of security guards outside had grown to 10, most of whom, he recalled, followed them to the car.
He remembered one guard holding his friend back telling the friend not to intervene when one pushed Reinke.
“When I fell, that’s when they jumped me,” Reinke said. “They bruised my ribs, they broke my nose and glasses for no reason whatsoever.”
Reinke said he missed three weeks of work because of his injuries.
“It stunk man, you know, hard to get caught back up on bills, you know, it’s horrible. You miss two days’ worth of work, you fall behind.”
Reinke decided to sue the restaurant over the attack.
Records obtained by 12 News Investigates from Milwaukee County Small Claims Court show Reinke asked the court for a $5,000 judgment. Records show Jalisco manager Miguel Herrera was served with court papers informing him of the legal case, but Reinke said no one from the restaurant showed up in court.
“Never showed up. My attorney tied to call them, no replies, nothing.”
A judge ruled in Reinke’s favor and awarded him a total of $5,272.50, but in the decade since that judgment, Reinke said he has not seen a single dime.
“Nothing, absolutely nothing,” he said with frustration. “It’s aggravating. You’re a $4,000, $5,000-a-night — on the weekend — restaurant.”
On two different days in September, 12 News Investigates went to the restaurant to ask Herrera about the unpaid judgment. On both occasions, different employees said Herrera was not there. Herrera has also not returned multiple calls or text messages seeking comment on the case. There was also no response to a message left on the restaurant Facebook page which acknowledged the case involving Lopez.
“The actions that the independent [sic] security company took in this matter are NOT acceptable and do not reflect Jalisco’s mission or core values. Effective immediately we will have a new security company working our restaurant starting today,” a September 22 post on the Jalisco Facebook page noted about the Lopez incident. There have been no posts to the page since that date.
The owner of the security firm in the recent case said Lopez refused to leave and was the first to start throwing punches, but he admitted things got out of hand.
“I want to apologize for what they did to this guy,” J.C. Public Safety owner Jose Carrasquillo told 12 News reporter Ben Hutchison at the time. “I don’t know how to control, when this guy is looking for trouble.”
Through his attorney, Lopez declined a request for an interview.
Meanwhile, Reinke and his family are considering additional legal action they can take against Jalisco for the unpaid judgment.
“You guys make good money, dish it out!” he said, adding, “You dish it out for some bad security guards. Dish it out to people who don’t deserve beatdowns.”
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