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This week Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn expressed his frustration with protesters from Milwaukee which can be viewed in a video now making its way around the internet. Protesters heckled Flynn for being on his cellphone during a Fire and Police Commission meeting related to the officer-involved shooting death of Dontre Hamilton.

Well, I was at that meeting and I saw how the frustrations escalated on both sides of the issue. There was even a shouting match containing profanity between Flynn and a protester. The protester claimed Chief Flynn mouthed “f*&k you,” which sparked an exchange of f-words from the protester.Others were angered by Flynn, when he was seen looking at his cellphone while a concerned citizen was expressing her concerns during the meeting.

Flynn has a history of acting unconcerned at these type of meetings so I wasn’t surprised that he got taunted for seeming uninterested. But this time Flynn was not being his normal unattentive self. He had a serious situation that needed his attention. Five-year old Laylah Peterson had been shot and killed due to a senseless act of violence. This gave Flynn a perfect opportunity to go on a tirade about the “greatest racial disparity in the city of Milwaukee” when talking to reporters after the meeting.

“Well I was on my phone, yes. That is true. I was following developments about a 5-year-old girl sitting on her dad’s lap who just got shot in the head by a drive-by shooting,” Flynn said angrily. “If some of the people gave a good goddamn about the victimization of people in this community by crime, I’d take some of their invective more seriously.”

“The greatest racial disparity in the city of Milwaukee is getting shot and killed — hello!” he added.

Flynn noted that each year in Milwaukee, 80 percent of homicide victims, 85 percent of aggravated assault victims, 80 percent of shooting victims who survive are African-American.

“Now, they know all about the last three people who have been killed by the Milwaukee Police Department in the course of the last several years. There’s not one of them that can name one of the last three homicide victims we’ve had in this city,” Flynn said. “But this community is at risk alright, and it’s not because men and women in blue risk their lives protecting it. It’s at risk because we have large numbers of high-capacity, quality firearms in the hands of remorseless criminals who don’t care who they shoot.”

I can agree that Flynn made some great points about statistics in the urban community. Where I disagreed, is him taking a stab at community activists he claimed do not know anything about the last three homicides in the city.

That’s not true. I was in attendance. I worked first hand with the families of senseless gun violence and police misconduct. Last summer I organized reconciliations with the MPD. The reconciliations were to promote healing and communication between the people and police. They were held on the north side and south side of Milwaukee encouraging citizens to get active against violence. Chief Flynn never participated in the events organized to strengthen relationships between the community and the police.

First let me say I support Flynn in his decision to fire Chris Manney, the Milwaukee police officer who killed Dontre Hamilton. I think the over all explanation of the firing was janky and played on both sides of the fence, but, the Chief made the right decision.

Flynn was talking about a specific group of protesters when he said, “There’s not one of them that can name one of the last three homicide victims we’ve had in this city.”

Largely I believe the Chief saw a opportunity the regain public support and restore the confidence of the police union by overly showing great concern in the interview after the commission meeting. Flynn’s approval rating is at a all time low on both sides of the fence.

Milwaukee Wisconsin has some of the worst stats including leading the nation in the mass incarceration of black men. On June 7, 2014, 62 black men filed a lawsuit against the MPD for being illegally strip searched.

Yes, there is a lot of violence, joblessness, poverty, underserved people and disparities in a community such as Milwaukee. The unemployment rate for black males is close to 60 percent, and the average family is headed by a single mother. Milwaukee has been deemed the worst place to raise black children.

The truth is, the Milwaukee Police Department over the years has fallen as one of the worst agencies in the country when it comes to police misconduct and is not a trusted entity. Milwaukee grassroots say Chief Flynn has got to go.

3 Responses

  1. Jesse

    Tory it sounds like you did a good job by doing what you did in the community to try being a peace maker. But about strip searches, sometimes they are necessary with violent people. They could be carrying something as small as a razor blade and if they are acting cocky and resistant it is probably justified. But it most cases it calms the arrested down so there doesn’t need to be use of force any further. There are other reasons too that are linked to drug usage which would require a search not only for contraband but safety of other prisoners. The police are responsible for that too. I encourage you to keep working with the community trying to bring people together even if the Chief doesn’t participate.

  2. Joseph Smithers

    I don’t know much about Milwaukee’s police dept. but with everything going on surrounding the Michael Brown shooting, the Clevland shooting and so on, it seems to me that these incidents are only getting air-time because white police officers and black victims are involved. My God does the rest of America know whats going on in Chicago, Camden NJ,Chester Pa, LA Clifornia, etc.etc etc.
    What they all have in common is largely black communities, being run by Democrats for the last 50+/- years! The party of supposed social justice is ruinning the inner cities of large metropolitan areas! That’s the FACT! Democratic policies are ruinning this country. Barack Obama is ruinning this country. At a time when our President should be doing everything he can to UNITE the populace, he’s always doing the opposite. I’m white, a Democrat and voted for Obama the first time. He showed me, in his first term, that he was going to govern one way, HIS WAY! No compromise. No racial healing WHEN IT WAS PRIME TIME FOR HIM TO LEAD. He was the one who could have done it. Instead he chose to bully his way through passing legislation HE WANTED. No compromise!
    Obama has turned out to be the worst President in history. He had the chance to be one of our GREATEST…He BLEW IT!!


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