'It's not over yet:' 39 years later, family of man killed by Milwaukee police continues call for justice

Ernest Lacy

MILWAUKEE -- The death of George Floyd has sparked pain across the U.S. For one Milwaukee family, it is a pain they know from nearly four decades ago.

Video from protests in 1981 is eerily similar to what has been seen on the streets in 2020. The men involved experiencing almost identical deaths.

The family of Ernest Lacy would tell you time doesn't always heal.

Cecil Lacy

"For him to lose his life, I don't feel like I got justice," said Cecil Lacy, Ernest's brother. "I feel like the more things have changed, the more they have stayed the same."

At 23rd and Wisconsin on Thursday, July 9 -- 39 years to the day -- pain has not aged for Ernest Lacy's family, or his 1981 death.

Lacy's death at the hands of police sparked outrage across Milwaukee in the 1980s. There is some question in how much force was used by a police officer who says he put his knee on Lacy's back to subdue him during the arrest.

Protest calling for justice for Ernest Lacy

Protest calling for justice for Ernest Lacy

When Lacy's family heard about Floyd and how he died, it sounded too familiar. Just as she called for accountability in 1981, Ernest Lacy's mother, Myrtle, knows there is work left to do.

"Keep on marching. It's not over yet," said Myrtle Lacy.

The family is calling for more states to adopt "Lacy's Law" -- a requirement for officers to call for medical help for anyone in their custody.

Myrtle Lacy

"It's time for me to get out and help the other families," said Cecil Lacy.

They know that what they do today will affect tomorrow.

"It takes time," Myrtle Lacy said. "It's been 39 long years. 39 long years. 39 long years. Keep on fighting."

The Lacy Family was joined Thursday by the family of Joel Acevedo -- a man who recently died in a case involving a Milwaukee police officer. That investigation is still ongoing.

Protest calling for justice for Ernest Lacy

Protest calling for justice for Ernest Lacy