Authorities are investigating an officer-involved shooting that took place Monday on Milwaukee’s west side. Members of the U.S. Marshals Service fired at — and injured — a man while they were in the area conducting surveillance.
The U.S. Marshals Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task force was in the neighborhood as part of a fugitive investigation when they witnessed an unrelated argument nearby. Bystander Patrick Bradford lives in the area and described what unfolded. “It was an argument going on at first. An argument on the corner of 29th then somebody pulled out a gun and shot in the car," he said.
According to the U.S. Marshals Service, “Members of the task force fired their weapons, striking the suspect.” The man was treated on the scene and at a local hospital. No law officers were injured. The Milwaukee Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service will review the incident.
Bradford says the type of scene that he witnessed was nothing new. “Man, it’s normal. This is normal stuff. Man, it's seeing all this U.S. marshal all that other stuff is different. Police shooting and stuff that is normal unfortunately," he explained.
Markasa Tucker, activist and current chairwoman of the Collaborative Community Committee (CCC) spoke to WUWM for the Project Milwaukee: To Protect and Serve series. She said, “We all know the issues in regards with police and community relations this has been going on for years from city to city what makes you think this process is going to be different.”
The CCC is a group developed by the Milwaukee Common Council to add community voices to the ongoing conversation about improving the relationship between Milwaukeeans and police.
According to a review by Steven G. Brandl, PhD, shootings by police have declined substantially in Milwaukee since 2009. In 2009, there were 53 such incidents. Last year, there were nine.
The CCC was formed earlier this year, after a leaked draft report on police by the U.S. justice department showed Milwaukee police fails the community and its own officers by not communicating clearly, making too many traffic stops and applying inconsistent standards when disciplining officers.
Tucker says she and the other members of the panel will sit down this week to look at the data and feedback they have gathered from the community. The panel will then draft a report for the Common Council and Milwaukee Police Department.
The Milwaukee Police Department was not available to comment Monday on the concerns about police-community relations or use of force. But since Chief Alfonso Morales took office earlier this year, he’s often said he intends to be transparent about problems in the department, and work with residents to solve them.
“I’ve told you before and from the beginning that I want to build an honest and transparent relationship between the Milwaukee Police Department and the community that we protect and serve," he said earlier this month. Morales made these comments at a press conference where the MPD released body camera video of a fatal shooting that took place last summer.
Morales said it was not an easy decision to make the video public. He did not want to embarrass or upset members of the family of the man who died. But he said the release of the video was important, in his effort to improve community relations.