District attorney: No charges against activist Vaun Mayes, arrested after unrest near 40th and Lloyd
MILWAUKEE - Officials with the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office said Wednesday, Aug. 26 no charges will be issued against Milwaukee community activist Vaun Mayes, arrested in connection with civil unrest that unfolded near 40th Street and Lloyd Street on June 23. The district attorney's office said there won't be charges "related to that arrest due to the lack of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt."
Milwaukee police on June 30 presented to the district attorney burglary and criminal trespass charges against Mayes. At that time, the district attorney decided to pend the case for additional review, and Mayes was released from the Milwaukee County Jail.
Protesters gathered outside the Milwaukee County Jail after Mayes' arrest, and even after Mayes left the jail, protesters remained, in what some said was their way to protest injustices they're seeing in the community.
Some of those protesting his arrest said they believe Mayes was taken into custody in an effort to silence their movement. Police said otherwise, telling FOX6 Mayes was arrested in connection with his alleged role in criminal activity near 40th and Lloyd. On June 23, three non-fatal shootings unfolded there, and a house and vehicle were set on fire stemming from an investigation into two missing girls.
FOX6's cameras captured video of Mayes walking up the steps at the home.
Community activist Frank Nitty said while Mayes was there, and he believes he was trying to help.
"He's what they call a violence interrupter. Governor Evers is talking about putting a million dollars toward violence interrupters. Vaun is a violence interrupter, an individual that stands between police and citizens to try to dissolve situations. So he was interrupting violence like he was supposed to, and they're trying to charge him with stopping people -- trying to stop people from doing stuff," said Frank Nitty.
"When he got over there it was already volatile," said Gabi Taylor. "Vaun did what he does best. He did what he could do."
FOX6 News asked Mayes about the allegations against him upon his release from jail Tuesday afternoon.
"No, my attorney will be releasing some information," said Mayes. "We don't want to speculate. I have my own opinions. A lot of us know what we know and what we think. My attorney is looking into it, and he would like to reserve that for him to do."
Mayes' attorney, Robert LeBell, said he's glad Mayes was released, but said it should've happened the day before. He said the circumstances of the arrest and allegations were highly suspect, and they planned to vigorously fight the charges.
In regard to the civil unrest near 40th and Lloyd, per the initial investigation, police said officers searched the residence later set on fire multiple times -- looking for the two missing teenage girls. The teenagers were not located at the residence. A news release from MPD said once the teenagers were located, they were interviewed by police. Both teenagers denied going to or being at the residence, and denied meeting or knowing anyone who lived at that residence. Police said no information has been provided to MPD to suggest that the teenagers were at the residence, or that any foul play occurred at that location.
Mayes faces separate pending federal charges -- accused of plotting to firebomb the Milwaukee Police Department's District 7 station during the 2016 Sherman Park riots.