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Milwaukee area law enforcement kill two people in one week

By staff

Milwaukee, WI – The Milwaukee Police Department, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and other law enforcement departments in the surrounding suburbs are notorious for their treatment of Milwaukee’s African-American residents, who make up nearly 40% of the population. This fact has been confirmed by this last week, where two people lost their lives due to negligence and criminal misuse of deadly force.

During the morning of January 25, Ceasar Stinson, 47, was killed in a car crash precipitated by an unmarked MCSO squad car. Stinson was a long-time community advocate and a lobbyist for Milwaukee Public Schools. Friends, family and colleagues gathered on January 27 to remember Stinson and the work he did to benefit his community. Questions abound about the circumstances of Stinson’s death, namely, who is to blame?

“The speed of the car, something had to be going pretty fast in order for that to happen,” said Kwabena Antoine Nixon, a friend of Stinson’s for more than 20 years.

The MPD is conducting the investigation into the fatal crash. The MCSO officer was treated at a hospital for minor injuries while the passenger in Stinson’s car is in stable condition. MCSO has placed the officer, who has been on the force 23-years, on paid administrative leave for the length of the investigation. His identity has not been revealed.

And then on the evening of February 2, in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa, officers from the Wauwatosa Police Department shot and killed Alvin Cole, a just-turned-17-year old high schooler. Officers responded to a call about a disturbance at the Mayfair Mall, just a couple miles outside of Milwaukee’s city limits. The call indicated that one of people may have had a gun.

When they arrived on the scene, a group of approximately 10 people were gathered in a parking lot outside the mall. Upon seeing the cops, at least four members of the group broke off from the others. That is when a Wauwatosa officer shot Cole in the back as he was running away. A gun was reportedly found at the site of the murder.

The investigation of this crime is being conducted by the Milwaukee Police Department. MPD reported that the identity of the officer involved would not be released at this time. They have been placed on administrative leave. Video of the killing from the officer’s body camera has also not been made public.

Family, friends and supporters from the community gathered at a vigil on February 3 near where Cole was killed. More than 50 people came out in a show of unity with the family.

“They shot my baby, my baby boy,” said Tracy Cole, Alvin’s mother. “He was supposed to graduate from high school this year. Seventeen years old. Very intelligent young man. Wanted to go to college. He tells me, ‘Mom, I am going to do something positive with myself.’”

The family and their supporters have made it very clear that they intend to seek and win justice for Alvin Cole. Part of that involves an independent investigation, something that does not appear to be in the cards, as Milwaukee police are currently charged with the task.

At the vigil, members of the Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee helped to guide the proceedings with powerful words. Mention was made of a march on the Wauwatosa Police Department, but no information about a date or time was given out.

“We are going to demand a clear, transparent investigation. You see the family is hurt. The community is hurt. We need answers, and we are demanding answers,” said King Rick, a leader of the Panthers. “This was a young man, a child, a young black man. Children make mistakes. Children get in trouble, but do they deserve to die for that?”

What these two incidents make clear is the lack of responsibility and the sheer disregard for Black lives that is shared across law enforcement agencies in Milwaukee and the surrounding suburbs. Milwaukee’s Black residents need authentic justice, something they so rarely see in one of the U.S.’s most segregated cities. Tthose gathered at the vigil shouted out with resolve, “No justice, no peace!”

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