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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All this sue them and get money. You folks are thinking small. Get the Justice Department to go in, reorganize them, appoint a special police chief and take the police away from Milwaukee for about a decade. Then get the FBI to investigate them for civil rights violations and running a criminal enterprise. Lock the officers and chief up in general population. That'd be a good start folks.


Yeah because that worked out well for Ferguson didn't it. They can't even fill the positions anymore. And this is the reason why people do not want to become cops anymore, and it is sad.

Artful Dodger

LEOs are hiring combat-trainer soldiers and KKK members. That's what's going on.


Combat trained, yes. Any one from a war zone should not be allowed to police for several years. If that was their profession proper to war then sit at a desk for a year. KKK that's just adding assumptions. Why aren't those communities policing themselves. Start with neighbor hood groups. Join the police change it from within.


...This is how they turn us against ourselves. Are they waiting for bloodshed before they will respond to the demands of the people? What, or more appropriately, who is behind this specifically? Is it the police department?, Mayor?, Who's giving the orders? Let's start there and work our way up the chain of command.


Suing the government only hurts the community. You want an iron clad solution?


Very nice article but 'Paddy Wagon' is an ethnic slur against the Irish. Please use a better choice of words in the future. Cannot believe that it is still being used in 2016 especially by the ACLU.


The buck stop with Clarke he is thebig mouth. He should be fired and replaced by some one who is not affiliated with the Kochs or Kuchs little dummy Walker.


The police count on people not knowing their rights and being intimidated. It is why the Black Lives Matter group is so important, it keeps police violence in the news. Thus far, I have read 2 major new sources publish 6 years of police violence in their locale. One in Chicago and the other Texas Tribune.


You can sue the MNPD not for money but for change! A change in procedures and the people may oust the officials that they see as corrupt. Sounds good? Now who will pick the replacements? Who will replace the command? These are the real issues that lead to change! Bottom up changes take a long time, top down changes affect only a few!
And where will these replacements come from, ousted from other PD's for wrong doing. This PD NEEDS overseers and head hunters looking for replacements that count!


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