MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn spoke at the Milwaukee Press Club's Newsmakers Luncheon Thursday, September 29th -- and his message to state lawmakers on preventing violence in Milwaukee was that we're all in this together. "Sure, more cops would help -- but the local taxpayer shouldn`t have to foot 100% of the bill when the entire state depends on Milwaukee`s productivity -- the entire state uses its amenities," Flynn said.
Flynn on Thursday renewed his call for public safety issues in Wisconsin's largest city to be viewed as a state problem. This, as Milwaukee is approaching its 100th homicide in 2016, and the city experienced its deadliest month in 25 years in August.
"It`s the height of political hypocrisy to put all of this on this mayor, that mayor, or the other, and by extension, their ratepayers, while everyone else says `not my problem.` But you know damn well if there`s a tornado in I-don`t-know-where County, Wisconsin, the money we`ve poured into this state from our taxes is gonna go out there and no one`s gonna blink an eyelash," Flynn said. Flynn continued his call for a state law mandating harsher sentences for repeat misdemeanor offenders caught illegally carrying a gun. "If most of the homicides here are committed by armed criminals, it would seem to me to make sense that that subset of crime – being caught with an illegal gun with a criminal record – should result in a significant criminal justice sanction," Flynn said.
As for another issue getting a lot of attention -- FOX6's A.J. Bayatpour asked Chief Flynn what is keeping MPD from releasing video of the officer-involved shooting of Sylville Smith in Milwaukee on August 13 considering police in Charlotte released body camera video of the officer-involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, which happened more recently than the Smith shooting.
"We`re not gonna do anything against the advice of the local attorney general or the local district attorney. We`re part of the system, and to the extent they want to keep the tape until they make a determination, I`m not gonna try to pull the rug out from underneath them," Flynn said. The case is currently under review by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office. The Wisconsin Department of Justice has said it doesn't want the video released until after a charging decision is made. Flynn added that he implores the public to not view body cameras as the ultimate solution to questions about police accountability. "What you’re going to see on that tape is frequently going to be ambiguous, difficult to interpret," Flynn said, "And you know what? Sometimes the camera’s gonna be pointed that way and sometimes it got turned on late. These things – technology is not perfect." Flynn also touched on several other issues, including his thoughts on the controversial "Stop and Frisk" policy formerly used in New York City mentioned by Donald Trump during Monday's presidential debate. "There’s no question it worked," Flynn said, "Going from 2,200 homicides to under 300 homicides." Flynn went on to say New York City stuck with the program for too long, adding stop-and-frisk can only work if the community supports it and the policy is applied specifically while protecting the rights of citizens - i.e., not patting down every person who's stopped. "There’s such a thing as diminishing returns," Flynn said, "(The) problem in New York is they continued to put their feet on the pedal throughout the dramatic decreases of the (2000s and 2010s) and alienated the people they were trying to help."