Demonstrators fill City Hall; Fire and Police Commission meeting ends abruptly

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A group on Thursday, September 4th planned to present a list of demands to Milwaukee's Fire and Police Commission during its meeting, but that never happened.

The group gathered in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee late Thursday afternoon -- the park where 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer in April.

Police say Hamilton grabbed the officer's baton -- and was shot and killed during a struggle.

Hamilton's family members and others have denied that claim, and have said they want more information released in the case. Hamilton's family members say they want the name of the Milwaukee police officer who shot and killed Dontre Hamilton to be made public, and they want to know the extent of the injuries the officer is said to have suffered on that April day.

After gathering in Red Arrow Park, the group on Thursday made its way to Milwaukee's City Hall. The plan was to present a list of demands in the Hamilton case to the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission.

Inside City Hall, the Fire and Police Commission meeting was in session -- with the group of demonstrators showing up about 45 minutes into the meeting. Police officers blocked doors -- denying the group's entry into the meeting.

Demonstrators pounded on the walls, and their chants for justice grew louder.

The Fire and Police Commission meeting was abruptly halted, and city leaders were escorted out.

"This is a public building. This is a public meeting and if we’re ever going to get to solutions, we have to talk about what the issues are, instead of pretending there are no issues between the community and police," Alderman Milele Coggs said.

The group was never able to present their list of demands to the Fire and Police Commission Thursday.

"We’re all disappointed that we didn’t get a chance to say what needed to be said and the demands get met," a demonstrator said.

Now, the group has vowed to continue to protest at every meeting until they believe their voices are being heard.

The District Attorney's Office is reviewing the case involving the shooting of Dontre Hamilton. The DA's office will determine whether any charges should be filed in connection with his death.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn says the family will have their demands met when the District Attorney's Office makes a decision in the case. There is no timetable as to when that decision could come.

Demonstrators left the building late Thursday night. We're told there will be a press conference at City Hall on Friday afternoon.


Another hot button issue that was set to be presented at Thursday's Fire and Police Commission meeting involves body cameras for Milwaukee police officers. A community activist was set to present a petition to the commission -- asking that officers be required to wear point-of-view cameras that would record incidents like the Red Arrow Park shooting, and interactions police officers have with citizens. That petition was never presented, due to the chaos involving the demonstrators at City Hall.

Community activist Tracey Dent says his petition has more than 2,300 signatures. He says he's urging the Fire and Police Commission and the Milwaukee Common Council to move this plan forward.

Officers in Whitewater are already using point-of-view cameras. The cameras record incidents and interactions between police officers and members of the public.

"We need to start being proactive instead of reactive -- to start building a trust again between the community and the Milwaukee Police Department," Dent said.

The petition includes comments from signers, such as "a camera will be the most unbiased version of the truth" and "cops need policing -- for our protection and theirs."

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn says getting cameras on police officer is in the works -- saying bids are out, but Chief Flynn says there are things the public and legislators need to think about and discuss. Should an officer be allowed to turn off a camera as he enters someone's home?

"Lower the temperature and really think through the ramifications of a universally employed technology that's constantly on, never off and monitors your most vulnerable moments," Chief Flynn said.

The high cost of storing the video and the changing technology is also problematic -- but still, the Milwaukee Police Department is working to make these cameras a reality for its officers.

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    CLICK HERE for much more on the Dontre Hamilton case, via