Milwaukee Turners Call for Lasting Measures to Uproot Systemic Racism in Law Enforcement and Oppose Military Responses to the Current Crisis
On May 25th, white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of handcuffed George Floyd for almost nine minutes, murdering him in front of three uniformed colleagues and several civilians begging him to release Mr. Floyd’s neck. George Floyd’s homicide occurred only a few years after another Minnesota police officer was acquitted after fatally shooting Philando Castile in front of his wife and child during a traffic stop. Both victims were Black men.
The recent murder of Mr. Floyd has its own painful parallels in Milwaukee. Handcuffed Black Milwaukee resident Derek Williams’ final words in custody in the back of a Milwaukee squad car were also ‘I can’t breathe.’’ Ernest Lacy, an unarmed young Black man who was innocent of any crime, was asphyxiated by three white Milwaukee police officers in 1981. These are but two examples. The City of Milwaukee needs to acknowledge this legacy and move to repair the harm immediately. Its response over the past week did nothing to address this.
“We are at a crucial point where our local and national governments need to address centuries of injustice systematically imposed on people of color, especially African-Americans. The crisis of today calls for long lasting solutions,” stated Milwaukee Turners President Atty. Art Heitzer.
Much of the evening violence might have been prevented by more direct communication and a commitment to provide meaningful improvements, transparency and accountability on the part of the City of Milwaukee.
The videos of the goading and violent arrest of an elected official, unarmed demonstrators and even a food delivery person are both unacceptable and ridiculous at the same time.
The Milwaukee Turners call on the City of Milwaukee to tighten restrictions on the Milwaukee Police Department’s use of force, curtail the MPD’s purchase and use of surplus military weapons and vehicles, and immediately implement use of de-escalation tactics in place of what we saw this past week.
We do not condone individual acts of physical violence, but the solution to the current crisis lies in a comprehensive challenge to systemic racism in local and national law enforcement. Not in calling for military force and tactics to break up peaceful demonstrations, nor blaming acts of resistance on outsiders while ignoring attempts by white supremacists to instigate violence in the apparent hopes of starting a race war and provoking a heavy militarized response.
We invite people to consider supporting the Milwaukee Freedom Fund which is organized by Milwaukee allies to support demonstrators against continued racist practices: http://bit.ly/mkebail
- MKE County: Supervisors Want Chokehold Ban Codified - Graham Kilmer - Sep 17th, 2020
- Suspect arrested for pointing and aiming a long gun at protesters - Milwaukee Police Department - Sep 16th, 2020
- Policing Protests Is More Than ‘Law and Order’ - Henry Redman - Sep 16th, 2020
- Protest Day 108: BLM March Goes to East Side, Shorewood - Ethan Duran - Sep 14th, 2020
- Officer Accused Of Reckless Homicide Resigns - Corri Hess - Sep 9th, 2020
- Task Force Seeks Bipartisan Policing Reform - Laurel White - Sep 8th, 2020
- Op Ed: No Equality Without Specific Solutions - John Torinus - Sep 6th, 2020
- Op Ed: Kenosha Is Charlottesville - U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore - Aug 31st, 2020
- Justice Can’t Wait: Representative Subeck Decries Republican Delays to Justice Reform Package - State Rep. Lisa Subeck - Aug 31st, 2020
- GOP Legislators Skip Special Session on Police - Laurel White - Aug 31st, 2020
Read more about 2020 Racial Justice Protests here
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The Milwaukee Turners were founded in 1853 by immigrants and refugees from Germany who became strong abolitionists and allies of Frederick Douglass.
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