Demonstrators meet with family of Joel Acevedo amid 15th straight day of protests

Joel Acevedo

MILWAUKEE -- Protesters took a turn to meet with a Milwaukee family fighting for justice on Friday night, June 12 -- the 15th straight day of protests in the Milwaukee area.

The family of Joel Acevedo -- the man who died following a fight with an off-duty Milwaukee police officer -- came together for a vigil, spreading their message as part of the day's peaceful protests.

Jose Acevedo

Two weeks ago, the family spoke publicly for the first time. They spoke at the same spot on Friday as more than 100 protesters stopped by to show their support.

"It's a pain, unless you experience it you won't know how it is," said Jose Acevedo, Joel's father. "My son, he is going to be well missed."

Vigil for Joel Acevedo

Michael Mattioli

Assembled near 45th and Cleveland -- outside the home of suspended Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Mattioli, who is accused in Acevedo's death -- those who protested called for all involved to be held accountable and for the release of the 911 call and police body camera footage.

The family said they know there are good police officers out there -- and they should be part of the solution.

"At the end of the day, it's not us against the cops. It's against right and wrong. In my heart thinking, if I was a cop, a good cop, and I'm trying to do right," a cousin of Joel Acevedo said at the vigil.

They lit candles in his memory and share what it has been like seeing the unrest and riots unfold across the country following the officer-involved death of George Floyd.

Vigil for Joel Acevedo

"What happened to George Floyd and what happened to my cousin was the same exact thing except. One was in the public eye, and one was behind closed doors. There is no difference otherwise," said the cousin. "One (officer) was clocked on and one was clocked off."

Vigil for Joel Acevedo

The family said they hope to organize a peaceful protest march to the Milwaukee County Courthouse at some point.

Protesters who stopped to show their support for the Acevedo family plan to continue marching Friday night. The group began marching around 2 p.m. and traveled across Milwaukee and parts of the North Shore.