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Families Gather To Remember Loved Ones Killed During Interactions With Milwaukee-Area Police

Families at Washington Park Bandshell
Chuck Quirmbach
Families at Sunday's event at the Washington Park Bandshell stand under signs bearing the names of their deceased loved ones.

One year ago this week, George Floyd died in Minneapolis while being kneeled on by a white police officer later convicted of murdering the Black man.

Events in Minnesota, Milwaukee and elsewhere are marking the anniversary.

Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee, about a dozen local Black families whose loved ones died during interactions with police gathered at Washington Park to remember those who passed away.

Myrtle Lacy's son Ernest died 40 years ago this summer after being stopped by police. Lacy said her pain hasn't gone away.

"They say sometimes you should be able to get over this. I tell you something about 40 years, people, there are many, many empty nights, and there are a lot of days where you just don't want to face any more. But you have to because I have grandchildren, children," Lacy said.

Chuck Quirmbach
Dontre Hamilton's brother, Nate, speaks at Sunday's gathering, as Nate and Dontre's mother, Maria (left) listens.

Maria Hamilton was also at the event. Her son Dontre was shot to death by an officer in 2014 during an altercation at Red Arrow Park. Hamilton said she's seen some improvements in police procedure since George Floyd's death, citing Milwaukee's new ban on officers using chokeholds.

"We got no chokeholds, no more chokeholds. So, it's working, we're being heard, but those are small gestures. We need a whole restoring of the justice system," Hamilton said.

Hamilton sid she'd like to see in cases where police shootings are ruled not justified that police pension funds, instead of taxpayers, pay for injuries or wrongful deaths.

"And they'll stop. They'll stop. If the money is coming out of their pension to pay these families off, they will stop shooting Black men," Hamilton said.

Chuck Quirmbach
Mariah Smith, a leader of The People's Revolution, speaks during Sunday's event. Members of the Ernest Lacy family (center-right, in photo) are among those listening.

A local activist group, The People's Revolution, which has held more than 300 events since Floyd's death, coordinated Sunday's gathering. At one point, attendees chanted the victims' names.

Jay Anderson, Christopher Davis, Alvin Cole, Sylville Smith were some on the list.

And, the group promised to keep protesting until more laws and procedures are changed.

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