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Milwaukee group plans rally to honor Jayland Walker, families of people killed by police

People holding a sign that says "Stop police crimes."
Teran Powell
/
WUWM
A Saturday rally at Lucille Berrien Park will honor Jayland Walker and the relatives of people killed by police in the Milwaukee area.

Milwaukee groups are among those outraged by the shooting of Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old Black man, in Akron, Ohio.

On June 27, Akron police shot and killed Walker, whom police say fired a gun during a vehicle pursuit before fleeing on foot. Although police recovered a handgun from his car, Walker was unarmed when officers shot him dozens of times.

A 5 p.m. rally on Saturday at Lucille Berrien Park will honor Walker and the relatives of people killed by police in the Milwaukee area. Organizers at the rally, hosted by the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, will also demand local police reform.

Omar Flores, co-chair at the Milwaukee Alliance, says he watched the body camera footage released by the Akron Police Department.

"It was nauseating, honestly," he says. "Just the way that we expected it to be. We also saw that police officers were clearly lying about what was going on. He was unarmed and running away by the time that they had shot him. There's many issues with that video."

Milwaukee Alliance is calling for policy changes that would require departments to release the names of officers that are involved in shootings within 24 hours and release footage within 48 hours. Flores says informing people faster would benefit how law enforcement communicates with the public.

"We feel like it's relevant to Akron, especially because over there, they have a policy that requires that it's released immediately," he says. "Basically what we see when that happens is that people see justice more often. Getting footage released out sooner and having transparency with the public can help prevent those types of things from happening and gain trust in the public."

Flores says the group has petitioned for its demands and they've gathered about 500 signatures so far. He says the demand came from families who have lost loved ones to officers from the Milwaukee and Wauwatosa police departments.

"They all say the same thing — 'We had to wait forever for footage.' Could you imagine being in that position not being able to have closure for weeks, or months or sometimes even years?" he says.

The relatives of people shot and killed by police in the Milwaukee area will speak at the Jayland Walker event. Flores says race is a factor in how police pursue suspects. He says the way police calmly arrested the man who killed seven people during a Fourth of July parade at Highland Park near Chicago is a "perfect comparison."

"This is just another example of the many contradictions that we're seeing these days. It's clear that the police know how to conduct themselves in an intense situation. With the shooting of Jayland Walker, I wouldn't even consider that being as intense of a situation as it was for the mass shooter, and they're still able to control themselves. It's clear that race is playing a factor," he says.

Flores says it's easy for people to feel discouraged, but "the fight isn't over."

"We just want to tell people, there is a lot you can do about it, and we've been doing it and we've been successful," he says. "You don't have to sit at home feeling like there's no hope. There's a lot that we could still do in our communities. I just want to urge people to come out. This movement is just as important as any other one. I think that once we start seeing solidarity between all the things that are in the news right now, is when we're going to be able to win real change."

Eddie Morales joined WUWM in 2022 as a reporter. Before working at WUWM, he was the North Shore communities reporter for the Now News Group and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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