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Saturday Protests: Marches Continue In Milwaukee Area

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Susan Bence
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Protesters march north on Lake Drive in Milwaukee on Saturday.

Protests are happening around the country following the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck.

In Milwaukee, protests have been occurring since last Friday over Floyd's death and other cases of police brutality. Here you'll find ongoing updates about the protests in the Milwaukee area. You can check out more of WUWM's protest coverage: 

>>Friday, June 5
>>Thursday, June 4

7:36 p.m.: Milwaukee Bucks Players Join Protest; Team Will Host Rally Sunday

Milwaukee Bucks players, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Sterling Brown and Brook Lopez, joined a group of protesters on the city's south side Saturday evening. 

As shown in a Facebook Live video from protest leader Frank Nitty, the NBA players walked with the protesters and handed out water bottles. 

The Bucks players wore masks, gloves and shirts that read "I Can't Breathe," a reference to George Floyd, the black man who was killed when a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes. 

Sterling Brown, one of the Bucks team members at the protest, accused Milwaukee police of discrimination in 2018, when officers used a stun gun as they tried to arrest him for a parking violation. The officers were later disciplined.

Later Saturday, the Bucks issued a press release announcing the team is hosting a march Sunday at 1 p.m. outside the Fiserv Forum. 

-Emily Files

4:45 p.m.: Cole Family Holds Demonstration In Wauwatosa

The family of Alvin Cole, a black teen who was shot by Wauwatosa police in February, is leading a demonstration in Wauwatosa on Saturday. It aims to demand justice for the victims of officer Joseph Anthony Mensah, who killed Cole and two others.

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Credit Chuck Quirmbach
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Protesters hold signs for Alvin Cole, who was killed by a Wauwatosa police officer in February.

More than 150 Black Lives Matter protesters gathered in a parking lot at 76th Street and Burleigh Street, with a news conference to begin soon. The destination of the march is the Cheesecake Factory outside of Mayfair Mall — where Cole was shot.

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Credit Chuck Quirmbach
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The crowd for the Cole rally and march as of 4:34 p.m. Saturday.

Organizers say protesters are coming from the Milwaukee’s East Side and elsewhere, potentially even members of the Milwaukee Bucks, to join them.

-Chuck Quirmbach, Lauren Sigfusson

3:45 p.m.: Protests Continue Saturday In Milwaukee Area

Twelve days after the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, Milwaukee and cities around the world continue the drumbeat calling for police reform, and more broadly social justice.

More than a half dozen marches were planned in Milwaukee on Saturday. Hundreds of people gathered at the North Point Water Tower to begin the East Side Milwaukee march.

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Credit Susan Bence
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Darius Smith (center, standing) says he felt compelled to help organize a march. Smith says he wants his daughter to live in a safer, more inclusive world.

One of the organizers, Darius Smith, says he’d never put together a march but was compelled to do so. He grew up on Milwaukee’s north side and owns an art gallery in Bay View. Smith says he wants his young daughter to live in a safer, more inclusive world.

In the meantime, a different crowd of people consumed North Lake Park Drive on their march starting at Atwater Beach in Shorewood. Organizers said a couple of thousand people joined the line.

-Susan Bence

1:11 p.m.: Traffic Closures On Center Street At Martin Luther King Drive All Weekend

The city of Milwaukee is closing Center Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on Saturday and Sunday. 

  • As of 9: 30 a.m. Saturday, east-westbound traffic is prohibited.
  • As of 3:30 p.m. Saturday, north-southbound traffic will be prohibited.

The closures "are a safety measure to deter vehicular demonstration traffic from MLK Drive," according to a statement from the city.
-Lauren Sigfusson

12:46 p.m.: Violence Against Officers Must Stop, Milwaukee Police Chief Says

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said Friday he's tired of people using the George Floyd protest to cause destruction and emphasized that violence against his officers must stop.

Morales repeated comments he’s made in recent days that his department is not getting enough credit for successful implementation of community policing, following an ACLU lawsuit that resulted in a collaborative plan to improve the department.

“Yet when something happens in another state, it’s very, very easy to jump on the bandwagon and say Milwaukee can do better,” Morales said during a news conference announcing federal charges of attempted arson and possession of a destructive device against a 26-year-old Milwaukee man. “Shame on them. That’s an easy narrative.”

Morales said law enforcement is being crucified because of the actions of angry mobs.

“People are trying to kill police officers. We have officers that are being followed home," Morales said. "The Madison [Dane County] Sheriff had his house surrounded. Why are our families now being targeted? You talk about crucifying? What are we going to get by doing that? That has to stop.”

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Friday he did not support police officers’ use of rubber bullets and tear gas against protesters.

-Associated Press

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