Several hundred people gathered in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee Thursday on the final night of the mostly virtual Democratic National Convention. Originally, it was going to be held in person in Milwaukee. The protesters rallied and then marched through the streets near the Wisconsin Center, as former Vice President Joe Biden got ready to deliver his acceptance speech from his home state of Delaware.
The rally was sponsored by the Coalition to March on the DNC and focused on ending police brutality. One person who spoke at the gathering was Jose Acevedo. He’s the father of Joel Acevedo. Milwaukee police officer Michael Mattioli has been charged with reckless homicide in Joel’s death. Mattioli allegedly placed Joel in a prolonged chokehold while off duty. The incident occurred at a party at Mattioli’s house in April. The officer has been placed on leave. Joel’s father and comunity activists have called for Mattioli to be fired.
“All we want is the truth to come out. We want justice not just for Joel but for all the families,” Acevedo said.
Another person at the rally was Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton. Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney was fired after he fatally shot Dontre in Red Arrow Park in 2014. Family members say Dontre suffered from mental illness. Maria Hamilton noted that the rally was scheduled the night of Joe Biden’s acceptance speech. She said her message to the Democratic presidential nominee is don’t turn your back on ordinary people.
“We need somebody in office that’s willing to stand in places that we’re not permitted. That’s the president’s job,” she said.
The gathering also drew counter-protesters who stood off to the side. Some heckled the people who were marching to end police brutality. Others carried anti-abortion signs and shouted pro-Trump messages through a bullhorn.