Milwaukee demands justice for Joel Acevedo and George Floyd on day 1 of their killers’ trials
Milwaukee, WI – 100 people gathered in the early afternoon, March 8, at the Milwaukee County Safety Building to demand justice for Joel Acevedo, a 25-year-old Puerto Rican man who was murdered by Milwaukee police officer Michael Mattioli. Mattioli was holding a house party on April 11, 2020 during the initial rolling out of the COVID-19 lockdown. March 8 is significant for Milwaukee because, in addition to its being day one for Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, it also marks the start of Mattioli’s trial.
The Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression asked multiple groups to organize a rally and march to demand the following for Joel Acevedo and George Floyd: 1) Convict Mattioli and Chauvin; 2) Release of the body camera footage; 3) Charge the two other off-duty officers involved with Joel Acevedo’s death, Andrew Janikowski and Christopher Peters; 4) Recall District Attorney John Chisholm; and 5) Solidarity with Minneapolis.
One of the groups that led the demonstration was the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression. Alan Chavoya, a member of MAARPR, told the crowd, “Only community control of the police can ensure that killer cops get convicted. Reforming the police and other band-aid measures have not, are not, and will not work,”
Chavoya continued, “We need to be bold and take control of the police. The people decide who, how, and when we’re policed.”
In the leadup to March 8, Mattioli’s attorney filed a motion to get a change of venue for his client’s case, stating that he wouldn’t get a “fair trial” in Milwaukee because of the “public attention” that it has generated. What Mattioli’s attorney doesn’t mention is that Joel Acevedo received no trial at all, let alone a fair one, before his client decided to murder him. In any case, Acevedo’s supporters received some good news when Mattioli’s motion was denied. It is, however, scheduled to be revisited on April 28 pending the outcome of the trial’s first few weeks.
After the rally at the Public Safety Building, organizations such as The People’s Revolution, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, SDS-UWM, Party for Socialism and Liberation, and many more marched across the 16th Street bridge. In addition to these organizations, Joel Acevedo’s cousin, Jose, joined the march with the group and called for unity in Milwaukee.
Over the next few weeks more details will be released about this case. The people in Milwaukee are ready to keep this fight up until there is justice for the Acevedo and Floyd families.