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Emotions Run High in Milwaukee In Response to Police Shootings

jay-anderson4.jpg
Jay Anderson was shot and killed by police in a Wauwatosa park on June 23, 2016.

Five Dallas police officers were shot dead and several others were injured by a sniper near the end of what had been a peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas. The protest was in response to recent police shootings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. Here in Wisconsin, a Wauwatosa police officer shot and killed 25-year-old Jay Anderson, who was sitting in a car in a park late last month.

The officer says he feared for his safety. The Milwaukee Police Department is investigating. Local community leaders are again calling on people to take a stand. In 2014, a Milwaukee police officer shot and killed Dontre Hamilton, an unarmed, black man in Red Arrow Park.

Milwaukee community activist Tracey Dent says black men dying at the hands of people who have vowed to protect and serve has become all too common. “It seems like there’s a war out on black men,” he says.

Dent says whenever he hears about police killing another black man, there’s a rush of emotion.

In Wisconsin, there are no hard and fast rules as to what you should do if police stop you and you have a concealed firearm.

  “Just like when you see the one that happened in Baton Rouge, there was no reason for them to shoot and kill him. The anger, frustration, when you can’t sleep in a park without being killed. Anger, frustration when you’re in a car and you’re complying with your hands up notifying that you have a gun sitting in the passenger seat and you still get shot and killed,” he says.

Dent says if not for the video people have taken of some incidents, there might not be as much outrage as we experience today.

“When you have footage, I mean live footage then there’s something seriously wrong with the Justice System and it needs to be gutted out and be replaced with people who are objective and really pay attention to the evidence,” he says.

Dent says people can see it’s time to demand change. “We need more and more people, especially here in Milwaukee, to fight against this injustice, but in a positive way. Not in a negative way, but in a positive way. We need to play chess, not checkers. We need the marches, but we also need people at the table demanding justice for the people of color,” he says.

And Dent says one way to demand justice is by electing people who will fight for you. Fred Royal is president of the Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP.

“I think that the police need to seriously look at their policies on interacting with African American males, especially in this area of concealed carry. Which everyone says is the second amendment right, the right to bear arms, but it seems that when the African American males carry arms it ends up with a deadly result at the hands of police,” Royal says.

In Wisconsin, there are no hard and fast rules as to what you should do if police stop you and you have a concealed firearm, but Brian Dorow has suggestions. Dorow is the associate dean of criminal justice and homeland security at Waukesha County Technical College.

“As a rule of thumb, we tell our students just as a courtesy let the officer know that you are carrying a concealed weapon, you have a firearm in your possession and you have a CCW permit. And I would say the best thing to do is just put your hands on the steering wheel. It’s a comfort level and let the officer take it from there, Dorow says.

Dorow says for their part, police officers face a litany of unknowns when approaching vehicles and people and are trained to follow certain protocol. He says the goal should always be to de-escalate a situation.

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