“WE WILL NOT LET YOU TREAT OUR BLACK BOYS LIKE FLORIDA DOES!”
- Response to Corey Stingley murder, African American Roundtable
On December 14th, 2012, 16-year old Corey Stingley made a mistake. It was the kind of misstep that many teenagers make, but in Corey’s case it cost him his life.
Corey was trying to shoplift alcohol from a corner store in West Allis, Wisconsin, when he was spotted by the cashier. Confronted by the clerk, the young African American man got scared, dropped the merchandise and tried to leave, but was forcibly detained by three White men, Jesse Cole, Robert Berringer and Mario Lauman. They put Corey in a chokehold and forced him to the ground. Even when he started foaming at the mouth and stopped struggling, the three men did not release him.
By the time the police arrived, Corey was dead. The cause of death was anoxic encephalopathy, or brain damage caused by lack of oxygen. The entire incident was caught on store camera, and the death was ruled a homicide by the Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office.
It sounds like an open-and-shut case, right? However, Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm decided not to charge the three killers with any crime. The clear injustice of his decision, released in an announcement late last Friday, rocked the city.
Yesterday, local residents turned out in force to call for justice. Hundreds of people gathered outside the Milwaukee Safety Building to demand the removal of Chisholm and an immediate federal investigation into the matter. The Overpass Light Brigade held the message “DEMAND JUSTICE” on the building’s front steps, while the crowd marched and chanted on the sidewalk.
Corey’s father, Craig Stingley, was among those who spoke to those assembled. He questioned why his son was killed for making such a common mistake, transforming his grief into a powerful call for justice. When Mr. Stingley called out his son’s killers by name, the crowd’s response was full of emotion and outrage.
It’s hard to imagine that the outcome wouldn’t have been different if the roles had been reversed, and it was a White man who had died that day. Corey’s story is heartbreakingly familiar, as the latest in a series of violent crimes against Black youth that go unpunished by the authorities. We must demand an end to this tragic pattern of injustice.
Call the D.A. Chisholm and demand he file charges against the killers.
Milwaukee District Attorney John Chishom
Additional photos from yesterday’s rally can be found here.