|Dontre Hamilton was killed by a cop who was fired for his actions but not charged.|
(Screen capture from YouTube video)
With on going protest in Milwaukee WI for the shooting death of Dontre Hamilton, Milwaukee police have began what can only be described as a campaign of intimidation on specific protest organizers in the city.
RELATED STORY: Milwaukee Cop Instigated a Fight With a Mentally Ill Man, Then Killed Him With 14 Bullets — Cop Gets Fired, But Not Indicted
Recently we reported that Milwaukee police had issued arrest orders (without a warrant issued) for ‘interrogation and desire to charge’ specific protest organizers, refusing to even inform these organizers or their attorneys of the specific potential charges.
In a public press conference at the District 5 police station yesterday where the persecuted activist were reportedly going to turn themselves in we learned, among other things that Milwaukee PD has temporarily suspended “the arrest orders” while district attorney John Chisolm investigates. Speaking at yesterday’s press conference Attorney Verona Swanigan and Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor both offered their services to represent the activists pro-bono and had advised the activist not to surrender themselves to MPD interrogation requests.
RELATED STORY: NYPD Wants Total War On Freedom — Seeks Court Approval For Mass Arrest of Protesters Without Warning“No one in America should be stifled from their right of freedom of speech. No one in America should not be able to say when they think they’ve been wronged and assert that by peacefully protesting,” Attorney Verona Swanigan said.
Senator Lena Taylor speaking at the press conference stated: “We need to allow the protesters to be able to protest,” she said. “Frankly, every ticket, every charge should be dismissed.” “Their right to protest is crucial because we cannot deny that our system is broken.”
RELATED STORY: Coordinated Nationwide Crackdown On Police Brutality Protests Begins — Pt 2: 'Die In' Protests Banned From New York City's Grand Central Station
“Instead of viable solutions to the profound problems in our criminal justice system and improving police practices and community relations, (the Milwaukee Police Department) has instead focused its attention on subduing and intimidating protesters and journalists,” community activist Angela Jones said.
Today noise of rain reported on Daily Kos the following first hand account of one of the recent home visit’s made by Milwaukee PD that occurred at 1:00 am last night.
“The police are taking this to a whole new level of intimidation. That is the only reason to bang on someone’s front door at 1:00 in the morning,” said Dave over the phone.”I am modest, and have no impression that people are out to get me, but this is ridiculous!”
Dave is a fairly quiet guy, a combination of reserved and intense. He is a committed activist, and Wisconsin coordinator with SEIU Local 1. Last week, he was part of a march onto a Milwaukee freeway onramp. This week, the police seem to be looking to bring him in for questioning. Their methods and timing are deeply troubling. This morning, I saw his post on Facebook:
I didn’t appreciate the Milwaukee Police Dept banging on my door and ringing the doorbell at 1:00am this morning, waking up me, my wife and our 8 month old daughter. Part of me is amused/flattered that they must think I was one of the leaders of the “freeway protest” the other part of me is annoyed at the heavy-handed and unnecessary intrusion. They are trying to intimidate us by coming for us, literally, in the middle of the night. I will not be intimidated by MPD scare tactics!I asked Dave to describe what happened:
“I heard a bang, bang, bang, loud on the door. ‘That can’t be good,’ I thought to myself, since it was in the middle of the night. I got up, but didn’t answer the door. I then saw bright flashlight shine through my front window, all into my living room. That’s when I knew it was the police. I didn’t answer the door, but started texting friends who might be able to help with advice and lawyers. I didn’t know what the police were intending to do to me.”I asked Dave to respond to people who might say “you broke the law and you get what you deserve:”
I asked Dave why the MPD seemed to be targeting him:
“It is weird, since I had nothing to do with the organizing of the freeway event. I went to Red Arrow Park that day and knew there would be a march, but didn’t know what was going to happen. I don’t know for sure, but figure that they might be targeting me, and a couple of other activists, because of previous civil disobedience arrests. I’ve had a couple, related to labor issues. I think the police are hoping someone will get scared and give them information. I know of another activist, Khalil, who has also been visited at home…”
“You know, I was there at the onramp, and got arrested. I received two citations, and spent the night in jail. It was a fairly rough time. But there is a process, and I will go to court and have my say. I accept that. But to have the police come to my house at 1:00 in the morning is nothing but intimidation. I don’t know why I am a target other than my work with the union. I posted this on Facebook this morning because I want people to know about this. This is happening here in Milwaukee. I want people to know they are looking for me, and that they might also be doing this to others.”I then called Khalil, a very visible and vocal street activist within the African American community.
He recounted recent histories of killings in Milwaukee, from Derek Williams to Dontre Hamilton at the hands of police, to Corey Stingley and Darius Simmons at the hands of vigilantes. Consistent to all the tragic tales is the lack of charges against police or vigilantes who killed young black men, as if their lives don’t really matter. Khalil has been active in every one of these cases, and believes that he is now being targeted because of his fight to hold the police accountable. In fact, he is so visible that Police Chief Flynn referred to him, by name, in a press event, calling him an “opportunist and agitator.”Read More