"It was traumatic:" State senator's son detained by Milwaukee police while helping family in need

MILWAUKEE -- State Sen. Lena Taylor said Milwaukee Police detained her teenage son Monday night while he was delivering a turkey to a needy family in their neighborhood.

Taylor said police violated the rights of her 16-year-old son, Isaiah, by stopping him, patting him down, and putting him in the back of a squad car.

"It was just traumatic," Taylor said. "When you saw that it was a turkey, and he told you that he was going to this house, two houses away, what was the purpose of holding him any longer?"

Police confirmed that Taylor's son had been questioned but called their own actions "lawful." Police said they were addressing recent robberies in the area of the Taylor home in the 1500 block of West Capitol Drive.

Lena Taylor's son Isaiah

Taylor said Isaiah had just returned home with her Monday evening after handing out holiday meals to 750 needy families during an event organized, in part, by Taylor's law office. Taylor said her son wanted to deliver a turkey to a neighbor down the street from their home.

"He said, 'Mom, I think they could really use a turkey.' I said, 'OK, take one over to them.' So like a kid who doesn`t like to walk, he ran over to take them a turkey," Taylor said.

Senator Lena Taylor

Taylor said her son saw a police car as he was running near 15th Street and Capitol Drive. He kept going because the vehicle's sirens weren't activated, she said.

She said an officer called out to her son.

"'Hey, hey, hey! Stop!' So my son stopped, and they proceed to get out and come talk to him and immediately start patting him down. They didn`t say anything," Taylor said.

Milwaukee Police reviewed video from one of the officers' body cameras in response to an inquiry about the incident from FOX6 News on Tuesday afternoon.

"The officers were conducting a targeted deployment to address robberies in the area," said Sgt. Tim Gauerke, a Milwaukee Police spokesman. "MPD reached out to Sen. Taylor and discussed the circumstances surrounding the officers' lawful field interview."

Taylor posted about the incident on her Facebook page late Monday, saying that her son was "terrified" during the incident. She told FOX6 News on Tuesday that she planned to contact the Police and Fire Commission about possible violations of her son's rights.

Lena Taylor's post on Facebook


Taylor said an officer called her home and left a message Monday night to explain what happened. She doubted that her son, who looks younger than he is, matched the description of any robbery suspects.

"I question whether my child, who fits more like the 10 to 12 (year old) range, fits the descriptions that were mentioned," she said.

Jodie Tabak, a spokeswoman for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, did not return a phone call or email seeking comment about the incident.