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Milwaukee protest stands in solidarity with Ferguson

Demands justice for victims of police terror
By staff |
August 19, 2014
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Milwaukee stands with Ferguson, against racist violence.
Milwaukee stands with Ferguson, against racist violence. (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Milwaukee protest demands justice for victims of police violence.
Milwaukee protest demands justice for victims of police violence.

Milwaukee, WI - Over 250 people gathered for a rally here, Aug. 16, to stand in solidarity with the struggle in Ferguson, Missouri, where more than a week of militant protests have erupted since 18-year-old Michael Brown was murdered by a Ferguson police officer.

The Milwaukee demonstration also focused on the last couple years’ victims of police violence and white vigilantes. It was organized in coordination with the families of Dontre Hamilton, Corey Stingley and Derek Williams. Protesters demanded the immediate arrest of the racist killers.

Dontre Hamilton, an unarmed 31-year-old Black man, was shot 15 times by a Milwaukee Police officer as he tried to take a nap on a public bench in Milwaukee this past spring. Corey Stingley – a 16-year-old Black child – was strangled by three adult white men after stealing and returning a bottle of alcohol at a corner store in the suburb of West Allis. Derek Williams, a 24-year-old Black father of three, begged for his life for over 30 minutes in the back of a Milwaukee Police squad car after he was violently arrested, eventually dying while an officer listened to music in the front seat of the squad, ignoring Williams’ cries for help. These cases happened in the last three years and none of those responsible for the murders have been held accountable for their actions.

Protesters gathered in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee, the site of Dontre Hamilton's murder this past spring. Speakers pointed out that Michael Brown’s and the Milwaukee victims' murders did not happen in a vacuum, but rather these murders are part of the racist discrimination and national oppression African Americans have been facing for hundreds of years.

Jorge Maya of Youth Empowered in the Struggle spoke, making the connection between the violence perpetrated against young Black men to that of the Milwaukee Police and Sheriff's Departments terrorizing immigrant communities in Milwaukee through deportation and racial profiling. "The police are not here to protect common people, they protect people with property. Just as innocent people like Michael Brown are arrested and killed for no reason, many immigrants are arrested and deported for having done nothing wrong. The system is not broken, it is working perfectly," said Maya.

Micaela Magel of Students for Justice in Palestine spoke of the militarization of local police departments to U.S. imperialism, the ongoing assault on the Gaza strip and the occupation of Palestinian lands, stating, "From Milwaukee to Ferguson to Palestine, we demand the end to killings and oppression of innocent civilians."

Police in the Saint Louis area as well as the Milwaukee County Sheriff have participated in a national ‘counter-terrorism’ training hosted in Israel to learn the newest techniques of their military.

The protesters then marched in the street for several blocks to the Police Administration building where family members of Corey Stingley and Dontre Hamilton spoke.

“See those police officers over there,” said Nate Hamilton, Dontre Hamilton’s brother, pointing towards two officers on motorcycles watching the crowd at the police station, “They don't give a fuck about us. We should be able to film them, ask them about their jobs but we can't … We have got to tear the walls down, that's what it said in the bible to tear the walls down.”

The crowd, then about 100, marched toward the 43/94 highway to shut down the highway exit at 10th Street. The crowd stayed for an hour chanting “No justice, no peace” and “Hands up, don't shoot!” as cars began to pile up at the blocked exit. The Milwaukee County Sheriff's office was forced to eventually close the exit from the highway and allow the over a dozen cars to turn around to get back on the highway. The protesters had successfully shut down the major exit to downtown Milwaukee.

The crowd then marched back towards the starting point of the rally, singing We Shall Not be Moved beginning the chorus with several of the names of murdered Black youth by police and white vigilantes in Milwaukee and the rest of the country.

Demonstrators then shut down a major intersection in downtown Milwaukee at Water and Wisconsin Avenue, with Craig Stingley, Corey Stingley's dad, addressing the crowd. “Did my son deserve to die, because he stole some alcohol and then gave it back? Should Michael Brown have died for supposedly stealing some cigars? I know if that would have been a white boy he wouldn't have been killed…the plainest of all our civil rights is the right to life, and it was taken. These are hate crimes,” said Stingley.

Everyone then marched back to Red Arrow Park for a moment of silence and closed the four-hour event out with a prayer for justice for families in Milwaukee, Ferguson and the world.

This event was co-sponsored by Occupy Milwaukee, Occupy Coalition, Milwaukee Anti-War Committee, Youth Empowered in the Struggle, Students for Justice in Palestine, Ma'Ruf, the Milwaukee Committee to Stop FBI Repression and African American Roundtable.