Chief Flynn Invokes Chief Brier To Curb Crime In The Inner City
First off, glad to be back! WW was a little ill. BUT I’M BACK and I got Issues!
40 years after Ernest Lacy was murdered and Milwaukee is right back to stopping young black men for no apparent reason!!
I guess those lessons we learned, those marches we marched where for naught!
Remembering Our Painful Past
July 9, 1981 Ernest Lacy was murdered by 5 policemen along Wisconsin Avenue one summer night. He was accused by the officers of raping someone in the neighborhood. Long story short, they beat and choked him to death. After months of a heated court trial and a city on the edge, the jury bravely found the officers negligent and having abused their power, to which then Chief Harold Brier blasted the jury of everything but treason. Some say he even put them on his hit list for his troops to pay special attention too!
Needless to say those of us who survived the Brier years know all too well the power of the MPD and the lives lost or forever altered by a split second decision of a sad human being on a power trip. That being said, I mention all of that to remind us firstly of Ernest Lacy. NEVER FORGET!!
Secondly, I wish sometimes these young people could have experienced those times and what it means to have civil rights which most of them seem to enjoy without any respect or acknowledgement of the sacrifices by our elders, some who are still among us (HINT: Young People… it’s not too late to show a little gratitude). I wish I could take each one of them back to that place on Wisconsin Avenue, back to that night and have them look into Ernest’s eyes as he lay in the paddy wagon taking his last breaths, not knowing what he had done wrong, or why he was treated like an animal and to see those images of what they did to an innocent man. I wish I could take them back to those marches where Commander McGee and Howard Fuller filled the city square with our community to call for justice and civil rights. We had had enough of the Milwaukee Police Department killing and harassing us. Reminiscent of the protest chants, “We fired up we ain’t takin’ no mo!!”
Now moving from Milwaukee’s bloody past we fast forward to today 2011, 40 years later. Thanks to our current Chief Edward Flynn with his carefully placed MPD traps speed and other, we are headed right back down that racist road.
So I guess sadly my wish is coming true about teaching young people about civil rights, but not quite in the way I had envisioned it and I pray no one gets hurt. So read this and pass it along. If you have young people out there driving, you might want to remind them that all it takes is one angry officer and an itchy trigger finger (or in Lacy’s case, a gang bang), a young person with no knowledge or reference of their civil liberties and what happens when they are taken away, and a hot summer night and we are back to Ernest Lacy days for sure. We are not very far removed from those times no matter what anyone wants to think. All it takes is one incident, one violent act, one death, one beating, one lost son or daughter, one outraged parent and community, one egomaniacal officer. Think about it!
What’s Going On?
In the last few weeks North Avenue from Sherman Blvd to RiverWest has looked like District 3 headquarters with squad cars, motorcycle cops, biking and walking beat cops all lined up to take you down (you being the young black man in most cases that I personally witnessed). That would be fine with me if the police were just doing their job innocently, but as I noticed and others have shared, it is beginning to look like a racial profiling pit stop with young brothers lined up all along on the curbs of North Avenue. I am sure other heavily traveled areas where young Black men are known to frequent are looking the same way. Yes I am saying it. It stinks of racism and racial profiling, just another side effect of living in a segregated society.
DWB (Driving While Black) is in Effect in Milwaukee!!
But how much of the blame do we share?
I have had this debate with other JustUs League Members and I can’t say that it is not a valid argument to say we bring some of this on ourselves. Our young people can act like real asses on any given night. North and Teutonia looks like the Fast and the Furious on the weekends and how do they get those fancy cars and fuel in this economy? What am I missing? I thought we were broke and jobless, but somehow these young people, attitudes, filthy mouths and all, manage to run their cars up and down the streets for hours every weekend. Not to mention the loud systems and fits! They are suited and booted, but how?
Could it be that we as a community have let our kids get so out of hand that they are now only controllable by the police? For example, I see these young girls out here wearing the shortest of shorts and cleavage that leaves little to hide so somebody is not parenting their kids. Young people are running our malls, our neighborhoods and we have become scared to talk to them at all. When is the last time we had a town hall meeting with our young people, made them come and have it out with them?
Could it be that we have been so blind-sided living in a hyper segregated culture that we don’t even think twice about police pulling over a high number of young Blacks? It looks normal to us. We have become sheep. Or could it be we need more evening activities for our young people that will be under attended and underfunded? Where is the church in all this mess? What happened to evangelization and reaching out to our young people? Yes there are many ways you could go with this debate but here we are 1981-2011, all around the world, the same song right?
It’s bad enough our Black legislators passed laws that help our law enforcement make it easier to stop us. Someone tell me why it is okay to give tickets for not wearing seat belts in cars but you can ride your motorcycle anywhere without a helmet? How fair is that? Thanks to Hupy Law Offices, no legislator in their right mind will touch a motorcyclist or they will loose their campaign funding! So much for our Black Reps standing with us! NOT!
In any case I hope you are seeing this too and we need to call it out before someone gets hurt or the young people push back. They don’t know any better and often take their civil liberties and their rights for granted. Why did we not teach them about our bloody past? Maybe they would be more likely to be active in the community of they knew that Black folk where hung right in Cathedral Square, maybe they would be more appreciative of their lives now if they knew of Ernest and the brothers and sisters that were beaten, raped, murdered at the hands of someone who chose to take away their civil rights. Maybe our teachers need a lesson or two because statistically they don’t know this history to teach it and white folks did a great job of removing our painful past from most archives and libraries.
Do you think police are pulling over young white men in the same volume? I DON”T THINK SO! But for various reasons we are easy targets. I just hope that we don’t become targets of violence. However we have seen what can happen when racial profiling gets out of control and you have police who may think their badge is a safe haven for abusing their power. They are no longer public servants; they are a military ops force that may get out of control if we don’t start to shine the light on the tactics Milwaukee Police used in the past and are using now.
Drive safe, legally, and stay cool headed. You can fight the battle another day. The streets are not the place to hold court. The way these police acted in the past few weekends that I observed these take downs are not to be messed with. They almost seemed to be looking for a fight. If you don’t believe me, take a drive down North Avenue on Saturday night and tell me I’m wrong. I would have taken my camera out to add video with this piece but I chose to keep moving. I’m a product of the 70’s and I saw my daddy get roughed up when I was a kid along with some real racist ish that makes me distrustful of anyone carrying a gun with a badge still to this day and I am biracial! I can only imagine what a Black person, specifically a Black man might be feeling, a post traumatic disorder of some kind easily. You’re damn right I’m cautious! I am traumatized by police brutality and its possible eruption. I will never forget the harassment my daddy received for being a Black man. Those officers were cruel, nasty, and very adversary and I have met very few good public servants in my 41 years of life that balanced out the negative ones. I know they exist but I have yet to meet many of them. And I do appreciate the work they do taking on this role and giving of their lives in some cases to protect and serve. I am not cop hater. I appreciate them very much, but all it takes is a few…
What I saw these past weekends was very concerning. Car after car, young Black men sitting on the curbs, handcuffed and legs crossed like on America’s Most Wanted or an episode of Cops, watching their cars being towed, looking dumb-founded. I couldn’t help but wonder if this is this Chief Flynn’s answer to inner city violence? Is this how he intends to get crime back down by locking us all up every weekend, much like his long ago predecessor Chief Brier?
And how will these young men pay for all these tickets, impounding fees, and the lessons and anger of dealing with unfair MPD practices? They will start to accumulate warrants and court dates that will surely keep them jobless and tied up in THE SYSTEM! Not to mention the mental trauma of going into this system that is designed to make you feel less than human. Do we really want our kids exposed to this justice system in Wisconsin? I don’t!!
That’s just my two-cents family, what’s yours?
So glad to be back among the living….Big shot out to Superman and the JustUs League for getting me back on my feet!! Jor-El you are simply the best!
Remembering Ernest Lacy
40 Years ago, we must not forget, we must teach our youth, we must honor our past and its keepers and all that we fought for…
A Friend of Ernest Recalls the Events of that Fateful Night
Time Magazine Coverage
From “Outrage to Action” (Book Excerpt)
March on Milwaukee Project
Past controversies over the police department’s treatment of minorities are not well documented. Readers can, however, find some information in the files on Ernest Lacy and the Police Department.