Milwaukee Alliance organizes picket to free Theo Edgecomb
Milwaukee, WI – In the middle of a cold winter evening, on December 17, the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression organized a picket with the family of Theodore Malcolm Edgecomb to amplify awareness of Edgecomb’s case, which is set for a jury trial on January 3, 2022.
Edgecomb is being charged with first degree reckless homicide with a dangerous weapon for events that unfolded on September 22, 2020. When news initially broke out about Edgecomb killing Jason Cleereman, an immigration attorney, the narrative quickly became one of defending Cleereman’s character while depicting Edgecomb as a murderous Black male, being labeled as the “Brady Street Killer” by Milwaukee Police Department in a tweet. However, video evidence surfaced earlier this month demonstrating that Edgecomb acted in self-defense.
Edgecomb’s family organized a press conference on December 8 in light of the recently released video showing Edgecomb riding a bicycle and being driven off the street by Cleerman and his wife. Edgecomb was picking up food for his fiancé and daughter when Cleerman and his wife nearly ran him over, hurling racial slurs at Edgecomb as they swerved on the road. After confronting the couple, Edgecomb began riding his bike home, which is where the newly released video picks up. As Edgecomb is driven off the road by the Cleermans, Jason Cleerman gets out of the vehicle and moves towards Edgecomb, yelling a death threat and a racial slur. As Cleerman approaches Edgecomb and reaches into his pocket, Edgecomb shoots him. The defense attorneys have revealed that Cleerman had a knife in his pocket, evidence which investigators excluded from the initial complaint. Moreover, toxicology reports indicate that Cleerman was also legally drunk that night.
The Milwaukee Alliance has been working directly with Edgecomb’s family to raise awareness around this case. Friday’s picket at the intersection where the incident happened was the first of a weekly series of pickets being organized by the Milwaukee Alliance. Edgecomb’s family and dozens of community members joined the picket shouting chants such as “Self-defense is not a crime” and “Free Theo.” They helped the Milwaukee Alliance distribute a couple hundred flyers to passersby with information about the case and links to GoFundMe pages set up to cover Edgecomb’s legal fees and provide financial support to his children.
When speaking about the video, Sonya Gordon, Edgecomb’s mother, stated, “It was very hurtful because the only thing I could think about is my son. How he must have felt scared. After the video was released, I feel like my son should have been released.”
“I know it’s cold out here, but if this is what it takes for us to bring Theo home to his family, then we’re gonna do it,” said Alan Chavoya, of the Milwaukee Alliance, during the picket.
Wisconsin recently had a national-level court case in regards to self-defense involving Kyle Rittenhouse, a now 18-year-old white man who murdered two people and nearly killed a third. However, self-defense does not apply to Edgecomb, who is a working-class Black man.
It is clear that oppressed nationalities do not receive the same treatment as white supremacist killers like Rittenhouse in the racist judicial system. One of Edgecomb’s cousins managed to get him on the phone while picketing, and he wanted to remind us that there are many people like him behind bars right now. Edgecomb’s case is another one of racist and political repression, but Friday’s picket shows that the Milwaukee Alliance is ready to lead the fight against this repression.
The GoFundMe for Theodore’s family can be found here: https://gofund.me/b72b18cb
You may also donate to Edgecomb’s legal fees here: https://gogetfunding.com/legalfeesforTheodore/