Wauwatosa adjusts city protest guidelines after back-to-back nights of demonstrations

The City of Wauwatosa on Saturday, Aug. 15 shared an update on recently-discussed protest restrictions after demonstrations continued despite those restrictions on Thursday and Friday night.

Among the changes, the city said, is the lifting of an hours restriction that limited demonstrations to between noon and 8 p.m. Despite that restriction, protests continued after 8 p.m. The city said Saturday:

"In taking enforcement action against lawful and legal protest activity, the City cannot treat those events any differently from other events obtaining special event permits, including block parties and local festivals, which can obtain permits allowing activity in the public arena until midnight."

The city also clarified on Saturday that picketing is not permitted at individual private residences.

Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride on Thursday, Aug. 13 had issued plans for "stricter enforcement of our laws" following recent demonstrations that had been held outside of McBride's home and the home of Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah's girlfriend while he was there.

As issued on Thursday, the mayor called for stricter enforcement of city ordinances pertaining to protesting on private property, picketing at private residences, trespassing, obstructing or blocking traffic and failure to disperse. Depending on the incident, according to a statement from McBride, violators would be subject to arrest or fines up to $5,000.

Protesters have been calling for change in the city, specifically the firing of Mensah and Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber. Mensah has been involved in three fatal shootings while on duty over the past five years. Two of those cases were ruled justified by the Milwaukee County District Attorney. The third remains under investigation.

On Saturday, Aug. 15, protesters were out for a third consecutive night in Wauwatosa.

Statement from the City of Wauwatosa:

"These modifications do NOT mean that we have called off enforcement activities or lessened our desire to lessen the unrest impacting the City of Wauwatosa at the present time. Wauwatosa police will continue to take a strong stance against unlawful activity which may occur, in relation to these protests or any other public activity which may be taking place in the City of Wauwatosa. While we support the right of the public to peacefully express their views through protest activities, unlawful behavior surrounding any such protest activities must be kept under control."

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