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WUWM's Teran Powell reports on race and ethnicity in southeastern Wisconsin.

4 deaths in the Milwaukee County Jail in 9 months, activists want answers from the sheriff

Kerrie Hirte (left) next to her daughter Cilivea Thyrion at Cilivea's high school graduation in 2021. Cilivea is wearing her graduation gown and is holding her diploma.
Courtesy of Kerrie Hirte
Kerrie Hirte (left) next to her daughter Cilivea Thyrion at Cilivea's high school graduation in 2021.

Four people have died in the Milwaukee County Jail since June of 2022.

Twenty-one-year-old Brieon Green and 20-year-old Cilivea Thyrion, both died from alleged suicides in June and December, respectively. Forty-nine-year-old Octaviano Juarez-Corro, whose cause of death is still unknown, died in January of this year. And 37-year-old Terrance Mack was found unresponsive in his cell on March 16.

On Tuesday, activists with the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and the Justice for Brieon Green Coalition picketed outside of the Milwaukee County Safety Building following the latest death.

Alan Chavoya is the outreach chair with the Milwaukee Alliance.

He tells me this picket was planned about a week ago to demand Milwaukee County Sheriff Denita Ball live up to promises Chavoya says she provided to the family of Brieon Green.

Promises that included giving members of the Justice for Brieon Green Coalition a tour of the jail facilities and posting the jail’s standard operating procedures on the sheriff department’s website.

But he says communication from the sheriff just stopped.

Then Terrance Mack died last week.

"There’s something going on in this jail that is horrendous, that is dangerous, and the sheriff is nowhere to be found," Chavoya says."The sheriff is not showing us anything that she’s actually going to do to hold people accountable or hold herself accountable. So, there needs to be accountability, there needs to be transparency. Something we’ve been demanding since June with the death of Brieon Green."

The Justice for Brieon Green Coalition, which the Milwaukee Alliance is part of, is demanding a tour of the county jail, transparency about the in-custody deaths, and an end to in-custody deaths. They’re also asking for an independent, non-law enforcement investigation into the deaths and conditions of the jail.

They also want Sheriff Ball to host a town hall meeting to face the community.

According to a statement from the sheriff’s office following Mack’s death the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department is investigating. A spokesperson for the sheriff said the department has no additional comment in response to Tuesday’s rally.


Teran is WUWM's race & ethnicity reporter.
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