Milwaukee police policy, group demands faster release of video, names

A demand for faster Milwaukee police transparency has followed the death of a man in custody this week.

Activists who gathered outside City Hall on Friday said the police department should release video any time a Milwaukee police officers shoots someone – or any time someone dies in police custody – within two days.

When police shoot or someone dies in custody, MPD says its goal is to share "community briefings" within 45 days. Activists said that is too long to wait.

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"This should be a no-brainer for the Fire and Police Commission," said Angela Lang with Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC). "Everyone wants to continue to repair this relationship between the police department and the community, it starts with transparency. It starts with being held accountable to the community."

In addition to BLOC, the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Community Task Force MKE and Students for a Democratic Society gathered Friday. Together, they demanded the release of unedited videos within two days of an incident.

"What we’ve seen in the past is heavily-edited footage and not in a way that they are legally required to edit it that way, but edited in a way that was more convenient for their narrative," said Omar Flores with the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

"The law is an outside agency comes and investigates. We have to follow that process," Norman said. "There’s a lot of things that go into an investigation, a lot of thoroughness, detail. We’re trying our best to be as communicative as possible, but we have to respect the process."

Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) administration building

The group also wants the names of the officers involved within a day. However, Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said it's not that easy.

"It would be inappropriate in regards to releasing those particular names or having that released in the public, without having a full understanding of what this investigation is going to resolve or turn out," said Norman.

While the chief wants to wait, activists want the information now – opposing groups, both claiming to fight for justice.

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Fire and Police Commission Chair Ed Fallone told FOX6 News the commission is talking about possible video release changes. The commission sets MPD policy, disciplines officers and hires and fires chiefs.

Commissioners are asking for MPD's thoughts. Fallone added things are in the early stages of a complicated issue.

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