Jonathan Copeland Jr. Sentencing
On May 2, 2019, I was present for the sentencing hearing of Jonathan Copeland Jr., convicted of the murder of my beloved law enforcement brother, Michael Michalski. Without question, it was the toughest court hearing I’ve been a part of. I witnessed many tears shed over our tragic loss at the hands of the defendant.
The testimony given described the lives of two very different people. On one side, there were the descriptions of Michael Michalski, an honorable man, loving father and husband, man of faith, great friend to many, amazing police officer, servant of the community, and a selfless and courageous person. These traits showed themselves on the day of the incident.
When Mike searched the house for Mr. Copeland, he knew the gravity of the situation. He knew Mr. Copeland’s history, his threats, his violent nature, and therefore, he knew the possibility of somebody getting hurt was very real. His partner testified that Mike had actually said a prayer for the safety of Mr. Copeland Jr., as he searched the house for him. Yes, you read that right. Mike prayed for Jonathan Copeland Jr.’s safety! Imagine that, a police officer that prays for the bad guy! That’s who Mike was, salt of the earth, professional police officer, and a man who loved all, even the bad guy.
On the other side, you heard testimony on who Jonathan Copeland Jr. was. He was a habitual criminal who had spent half his life in jails and prisons. He’s an extremely dangerous and feared individual who threatened to hurt his own wife and who she labeled in her cell phone caller ID as the “Terrorizer.” He’s a person who laid in wait and ambushed our beloved Officer Michalski, giving him no chance to defend himself, and then fired at other officers in an attempt to kill as many of them as he could. And once his gun ran dry and he threw it out the window, the real character of Jonathan Copeland Jr. showed itself…A COMPLETE COWARD WHO BEGGED FOR THE POLICE NOT TO HURT HIM AND TO HAVE MERCY ON HIM, as they took him into custody. Being the professional police officers that they are and never harming anybody who surrenders, my officers didn’t harm a hair on Mr. Copeland’s head, even after having seen him murder our fellow officer before their eyes. Mr. Copeland Jr. is a person who, to my knowledge, hadn’t contributed anything positive to society, ever. I didn’t even hear his own attorney speak of anything good that he had done in his entire life, which was quite telling, as that is standard defense protocol. Clearly, there was nothing good to speak of.
And when given the opportunity to address the court, did Mr. Copeland apologize for his actions? Did he give the community any shred of evidence or hope that he was capable of remorse or of any redeeming quality whatsoever? Nope. Instead, Mr. Copeland disgustingly spewed a phony self-defense argument, implying that he was in danger simply because he was a black man that was being pursued by police. He wanted the court to actually believe that even after he previously told his wife that he was going to kill police officers, premeditatedly laid in wait for Officer Michalski for 10 minutes, ambushed and killed him, then tried to kill other officers with every last bullet that he had, that he was the victim. His words were sickening to hear. A pathetic response by a pathetic person.
Jonathan Copeland Jr. Selfish. Sociopath. Coward.
Mr. Copeland, quite honestly, you don’t belong on earth and a prison cell is better than you deserve, in my estimation. Many states wouldn’t even bother sentencing you to life in prison, as they have better options for people who commit heinous acts like you have. But until the statutes are changed, you are right where you need to be, in prison until you are gone.
God bless Mike’s family and our law enforcement family! We are closer and tighter than we’ve ever been. Mike is with us forever, never to be forgotten. We love you brother!
Shawn C. Lauda
Milwaukee Police Association