Cautious Progress In Milwaukee Police Brutality Case

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Click photo to watch video of the march.

Click photo to watch video of the march.

Activists and community members fighting against police brutality in Milwaukee are claiming a cautious victory. They have been promised a meeting with the city’s mayor to discuss the death of a Derek Williams who died while in police custody. Williams is one of two men the activists say have died because of Milwaukee police misconduct.

The promise of a meeting with the mayor came after activists and community members against police brutality and misconduct emotionally confronted police at City Hall. The group marched in silence Friday afternoon from West 16th street along West Wisconsin Avenue to the Milwaukee Police Administration Building, then to city hall.

Friday’s march was held solely on the sidewalk so activists would be able to enter the Police Administration building and city hall. A full Ustream of the march can be seen here.

Activists continue to march for justice for those who have experienced police brutality.

“I was out here in 1979 when I first moved to this city in 1979 protesting the death of Ernest Lacy on this same street at 23rd and Wisconsin and I don’t see a lot has changed in our city since then,” said community member Kathleen Raynler.

“We basically are out here right now for Derek Williams and Darius Simmons and the countless people who lost their lives and lost their rights to the Milwaukee Police Department. We are out here right now is just getting out in the community and walking to First District and then we are going to head to the city hall so we can talk to the Chief of Police and the Mayor about our grievances. We really asking for the Chief to step down so hopefully we won’t have to keep hitting the hood so hard. But we definitely want to make sure we keep getting the message out that police brutality and violations of rights and laws by the Milwaukee Police Department won’t continue to be allowed in the city of Milwaukee,” said Anthony Williams of Occupy the Hood.

“Make sure the MPD understand we are not just going to let up on ya’lls beating on us and making us suffocate in the back of police squad cars. That’s unlikely, especially if you’re not trying to get that character’s story out. So for me to see that video, man I came into tears. And, you know, I’m 27 years old, man I ain’t never cried to see another man die in the back of a police car. Man, it’s crazy. So I’m just down here to show my support. No justice, no peace,” said community member Romero Davis.

Activists first went to the Police Administration building to speak with Chief Edward Flynn, whose office is located in the building. Activists are not allowed to enter the building, facing a line of MPD officers blocking the doors who said the building was temporarily closed, though it was during normal business hours. That interaction, as well as confrontation later in the march can be seen here.

After several minutes, activists continued their march to the Milwaukee city hall.

People were allowed to enter city hall, but were not allowed to go beyond on the first floor of the building. Several MPD officers blocked the elevators and stairways.

Khalil Coleman, Occupy the Hood, and Maeleen Jordan, Derek Williams’ great aunt, were allowed to go to the mayors office on the second floor. There, a member of Mayor Tom Barrett’s staff told Coleman and Jordan that Barrett will be in contact with Jordan in the next week to schedule a meeting to discuss Williams’ homicide.

Jordan explains below the importance of this to their campaign and the impact on her family.

Taken as a cautious victory, Jasmine Washington, Occupy the Hood, says they have been promised such a meeting before that never ended up happening. She says they will continue to hold marches and actions until MPD Chief Edward Flynn resigns.

Activists are also working to create a MPD Community Review Board to better hold the police department accountable for misconduct.

As we have previously reported, activists with Occupy the Hood Milwaukee and community members gather weekly to march against the police misconduct that led to the deaths of two men in police custody and the broader context of misconduct and abuse of power by the MPD.

Tracey Pollock

Tracey Pollock, a native of River Falls, Wis., studied journalism at UW-River Falls and finished her education at UW-Milwaukee with a focus in sociology. She is interested in covering social justice issues and shedding light on issues in a way that corporate media will not undertake. Pollock lives in Milwaukee, where generations of her family have resided. She enjoys the local music scene, bicycling and camping.

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