Tag Archives: Occupy Milwaukee

Milwaukee Demands Justice for Corey Stingley

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“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

(414) 278-4630

da.milwaukee@da.wi.gov

Additional photos from yesterday’s rally can be found here.

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Protestors Descend Upon Scott Walker’s Governors Convention

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Milwaukee, WI - This weekend, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is hosting Governors from around the U.S. at the Milwaukee Convention Center. Protestors were there to greet them this afternoon and a large police presence was there to greet protestors.

Massive MPD Presence

MPD have blockaded off the east end of the Milwaukee Convention Center and set up a mobile surveillance trailer for this weekend’s Governors Conference.

The first noticeable thing when approaching the Milwaukee Convention Center was that the entire eastern portion of the block was barricaded off from pedestrians with signs that warned, “Security Zone. Restricted Area. Do Not Enter. Per Order of the Milwaukee Police Department”. Behind the barricades were, at times, ten officers and a mobile video surveillance trailer that had 4 separate cameras attached to it. There were also five mounted officers at two different locations.

Because of the barricades erected by MPD, protestors were forced to assemble on the other side of Wisconsin Avenue away from the convention center, so the demonstrators decided to instead march around the intersection, effectively placing them right in front of the convention center several times and attracting greater visibility for their action.Marching Past Governors ConventionMarching on the Governors ConventionAfter circling around the Wisconsin Avenue intersection several times, the group settled in across the street, where speakers from Occupy Milwaukee, Move to Amend of Southeast Wisconsin, Amalgamated Transit Union, and Citizen Action of Wisconsin spoke on issues pertaining to the governors in attendance including Move to Amend, women’s rights, and racial profiling in Milwaukee and around the nation to name a few.Art Heitzer Addresses Crowd

Here are the governors who were in attendance Friday for the National Governors Association conference:

Jan Brewer (R) of Arizona, John Hickenlooper (D) of Colorado, Daniel Malloy (D) of Connecticut, Jack Markell of Delaware, Neil Abercrombie (D) of Hawaii, Pat Quinn (D) of Illinois, Terry Branstad (R) of Iowa, Martin O’Malley (D) of Maryland, Mark Dayton (D) of Minnesota, Phil Bryant (R) of Mississippi, Jay Nixon (D) of Missouri, Dave Heineman (R) of Nebraska, Chris Christie (R) of New Jersey, Pat McCrory (R) of North Carolina, Jack Dalrymple (R) of North Dakota, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Alejandro Garcia Padilla (Popular Democratic Party) of Puerto Rico, Lincoln Chafee (D) of Rhode Island, Dennis Daugaard (R) of South Dakota, Bill Haslam (R) of Tennessee, Gary Herbert of Utah, Peter Shumlin (D) of Vermont, John de Jongh Jr. (D) of Virgin Islands, Earl Ray Tomblin (D) of West Virgina and Walker (R) of Wisconsin.

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Next Protest at the Governors Convention is Saturday.

Tomorrow at 1:00p the group “Focus on Jobs, Not Vaginas!” has organized a “Welcoming Party” for Walker and the other GOP “Vagina Demagogues.” Join them @ 400 W. Wisconsin. The Facebook event page is right here.

More photos from today’s protest can be found here.

Milwaukee Hits the Streets for Trayvon

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Trayvon Lives On 4

Milwaukee, WI - A day after the stunning “not guilty” verdict was read in the George Zimmerman murder trial of Trayvon Martin, Milwaukeeans came out in mass to peacefully express their outrage over the all-white jury’s decision to not convict.

Justice For Trayvon March 1

Beginning at six o’clock in the evening about 200 people gathered at the Martin Luther King Jr. statue on MLK drive, where a few people spoke before the group took to the street and marched through downtown Milwaukee commandeering major city intersections to conduct large speak-outs that brought people out of businesses, cars, and residencies to join or observe. At each occupied intersection, the demonstrators held hands encircling all four crosswalks with speakers centered in the middle. Justice For Trayvon March 9

Later in the night around nine o’clock the Overpass Light Brigade (OLB) also took to the streets (actually the bridges) to shine their displeasure over the jury’s unjust decision. About 40 “Holders of the Lights” arrived at the Ring Street Pedestrian Bridge to hold a “TRAYVON LIVES ON” LED lighted message over I-43 traffic. A steady stream of horn honking and thumbs up were elicited by the group’s message. The message seemed fitting for the city of Milwaukee, which, on this day, lived out the true meaning of the OLB’s “TRAYVON LIVES ON” message. Trayvon Martin may no longer be with us, but he continues to live on through the collective action of all those who fight to fix the system that took his life and allowed his killer to go free. Fight on Milwaukee!Trayvon Lives On 2

Trayvon Lives On 1

Justice for Trayvon from Occupy Riverwest on Vimeo.

Flickr photo album of march are here.

Flickr photo album of OLB bridge action are here.

Walker Aide Demands Protestor’s Rights Be Violated

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Milwaukee, WI - About two-dozen protestors showed up this morning at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee to protest a visit from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who was visiting the Johnson’s Control space at the University. The protestors chanted on megaphones “Focus on jobs, not vaginas” outside the room Walker was in to send a message that the people of Wisconsin will not stand by idly while the reproductive rights of women are attacked.

While protesting a demonstrator took her sign and pressed it up against the window of the room Walker was in. This protestor did this without issue for a few minutes, until a Walker aide asked her to remove the sign. She refused, upsetting the aide who next walked away, only to stop and come back to ask one of the MPD officers present to have the sign removed. Without thinking about whether he was violating the women’s rights, the officer immediately approached the women and demanded she remove the sign. When she refused he immediately ripped it from her hands. The protestor immediately grabbed the sign back and continued to press the sign against the window for Walker to see. When the officer realized his actions were being videotaped he immediately ceased with his request.

Apparently the Milwaukee Police Department’s job is to do whatever people in positions of influence ask them to do rather than considering if they are violating the rights of those who pay their salaries? Props to this women for recognizing her rights were being infringed upon and continuing with her protest despite the threats and intimidation! Watch the video below.

Walker Aid Orders Attack on Protestor from Occupy Riverwest on Vimeo.

“The Milwaukee 12″ Face Police Intimidation and Obstruction

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Fired janitors and their supporters demonstrate in front of Wangard's building at 875 E. Wisconsin Avenue.

Fired janitors and their supporters demonstrate in front of Wangard's building at 875 E. Wisconsin Avenue.

Milwaukee, WI - The “Justice for the Milwaukee 12″ campaign, which began in front of 875 E. Wisconsin Avenue last December, continues to draw a heavy police presence at rallies held in front of the building. While it’s not completely surprising that building owner Stewart Wangard has enlisted the open support of the MPD, much of the department’s actions have been overzealous, unnecessary, and heavy-handed. So much so that questions have arisen as to whether on certain occasions protesters’ first amendment freedom of speech rights have been violated.

Occupy Riverwest and SEIU staffers uncovered the story of MPD officer Michael Murphy posing as a fake Facebook activist in March. The story detailed Murphy’s invention of “Mickey Lynch” and his friending of hundreds of Milwaukee area activists in an attempt to gather information as well as do surveillance. It was revealed that much of this activity was done on work time and that Murphy was a recent Chair of the Wisconsin Republican Liberty Caucus. Additionally, Murphy attempted to mislead rally attendees by posting statements suggesting the rallies had been cancelled or the times changed. A formal complaint against Murphy was filed with MPD’s Internal Affairs Division on March 19th. After two phone calls, Captain Denise Rowe did call Somerscales, the author of the complaint, and told him that ‘the investigation is continuing”. Since this time however, nothing has been heard back from the MPD.

The Easter Bunny, whose actions inadvertently led to organizer Somerscales receiving a littering ticket.

A recent example of police heavy-handedness occurred on April 5th. A small group of SEIU Local 1 members and their children marched to 875 E. to participate in an Easter egg hunt in front of the building, Besides being fun for the kids, the idea was to highlight the fact that Wangard’s firing of the 12 janitors effected not just the terminated employees but their children as well. During the event, the Easter Bunny casually dropped a few small pieces of candy on the steps of the building as he hopped and frolicked about. No police were present at the time but nearly an hour later four officers, including Officer Murphy, suddenly walked into SEIU Local 1′s offices demanding to know “where the pink bunny was”. The humor of the moment quickly soured when the police gave a $155 citation to Somerscales for littering.

Giving out a citation for littering over a few small pieces of candy is petty, smacks of harassment, and demonstrates that the MPD is willing to do the bidding of Wangard. Moreover, having four cops deliver the ticket is over-the-top and a poor use of MPD resources. It was a thinly veiled attempt at harrassment and appears to be part of the MPD’s continuing efforts to intimidate protesters and stifle future actions.

Justice for the Milwaukee 12 has made sure that Milwaukee politicians are aware of the police harassment. In addition to conversations with individual Common Council members and Milwaukee County Supervisors, letters have been sent to Aldermen Nic Kovac and Bob Baumann as well as Mayor Barrett. Baumann represents the downtown district where 875 East is located and where the MPD First District patrols. Kovac is Somerscales’s Alderman. Below is a copy of the letter SEIU Local 1 sent to Mayor Barrett.

Page 1 of letter sent from Director of SEIU Local 1 Pete Hanrahan to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett about continued Milwaukee Police Department intimidation of activists.

 

Page 2 of letter sent from Director of SEIU Local 1 Pete Hanrahan to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett about continued Milwaukee Police Department intimidation of activists.

As the investigation and legal efforts progress further updates will follow here on Occupy Riverwest.

Wangard and the 1% will continue to use the services of law enforcement as tools of harassment and intimidation. It won’t work. Our struggle for justice will continue. We will not back down until we have Justice for the Milwaukee 12! You can help us . . .

The next rally on behalf of Justice for the Milwaukee 12 will be Friday, May 4th at noon in front of 875 E. Wisconsin Avenue.

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