Milwaukee Police Forcibly Arrested Two Men Last Night for Doing Nothing Wrong. They Got a Surprise When One Was A State Rep and the Other Was From the ACLU.

Last night in the Sherman Park area, Milwaukee police officers in riot gear wrongfully arrested two men for no good reason. But this time, the men they arrested had the means to demand their rights and were released. The men were Jarrett English, an organizer at the ACLU of Wisconsin, and State Representative Jonathan Brostoff.

At about 9:30 p.m., a handful of people, including Mr. English and Rep. Brostoff, stood on the northeast corner of Sherman Boulevard and Auer Avenue, observing a large contingent of police officers who had blocked off Auer on the west side of Sherman. The street has been the gathering place for community members since the fatal police shooting of Sylville Smith on August 13.

Numerous officers then forcibly arrested Mr. English as he was walking away as instructed. He was handcuffed, forced to the ground, involuntarily searched, and placed in a police van with Rep. Brostoff. After officials became aware that they had arrested a state legislator, the two were released without charges.

When I had the chance of speaking with Jarrett, he told me this:

“The situation was confusing, because I really did not know what I was being arrested for. It was embarrassing and dehumanizing, and I did not feel that I was being treated with the dignity and respect that should be afforded any individual. But I was mostly thinking about all of the young people this happens to every day who don’t have anyone to call to get free. We cannot continue doing this to our people. It has to stop.”

The Milwaukee Police Department has once again demonstrated its preference for occupation, excessive force, and belligerence over genuine engagement, civil dialog, and de-escalation. People have a right to stand on a street corner – to observe and record the police, as Jarrett was doing, or for any other reason. Unfortunately, rather than protecting people and their rights, law enforcement in this community all too often engages in the sort of destructive behavior to which Jarrett and Jonathan were subjected to last night. 

Although no one deserves to be treated like this, the police made the mistake this time of abusing people who were in a position to insist on their rights. Most people aren’t so lucky.

Jarrett English, a Milwaukee native, recently wrote about the history of police failures in his city. You can read it here.

CORRECTION: The piece originally identified Emilio De Torre as the legal director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. He is the ACLU of Wisconsin's youth and programs director. 


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Il faut qu'on essayer. We must try, even if we do not succeed, trying to work for justice makes us better people


Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know.


I hope they sue the police and share the pleadings and depositions on your website for the less experienced esquires out there to use in their own communities.


No. Suing the police department will just cost tax payers money. Remember, government money is our money. What needs to be done is those officers involved or their superiors, whoever was ultimately responsible, need to lose their jobs and do some jail time for assault. THAT, if done around the country, would end this type of thing.


Until LEO are forced to carry personal liability insurance the tax payer and the city/town/state carry the burden for the LEO's wrong doing.


This has gotten out of hand.....I hope the ACLU sues the Milwaukee Police, in particular Sheriff Clarke on behalf of these 2 men


What does Sheriff Clarke have anything to do with this? He is the SHERIFF! If you want to go after the top of police, you need to go after Ed Flynn. The sheriff's and police are two separate departments.

Paul J. Krupin

One thing is for sure. If Donald Trump gets elected, this will increase dramatically and the enforcement arm of state and city government in particular feel empowered to violate more civil liberties knowing they have a racist bigot at their back. We can't let this happen.


What makes you think that it would be *any* better in a Hillary Clinton administration? Remember what she did to the #BLM protestors and how she treated the young activist who asked her about her record on the environment. She is *not* a politician who is looking out for the common man (or woman), and she is definitely against those who would be labeled as civic activists.


So, the last 8 years of Obama have fixed everything? If you really think voting--for anyone--is going to stop this, you are delusional.


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