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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Paul Becke

Yes, the so-called 'war on drugs' looks to have been an excuse for fascist, brown-shot, street-thuggery by some of society's lowest gutter-snipes. No. They don't have the brains to be dangerous without 'minders' ; the indolent white-collar criminals of the legislature who condone it all are the real menace..

If such police had just a little more sense, mockery of their stupidity would be among the most effective reforming weapons, but how can you mock people mad enough to raid a barber's shop, all 'tooled up' and in full SWOT gear, bursting in, as the poor barber was cutting a guy's hair.

If the barber had managed to dive for his razor, the Swot 'commandos' wouldn't have had a prayer would they ?

Why ? Because the barber had failed to renew his licence in timely fashion. Only an old-style, Wild West-style desperado would forget to renew his licence. Tuco, maybe.

Anonymous

Way to go ACLU! The term "paddy wagon" is a derogatory term! Who the hell writes this shit for you?

Anonymous

So the Taxpayers are set to lose a ton of money. When will the public just say enough. Disband the Union. Make all LEO's wear body cams at all time, if they shut it off they lose their accreditation and go to jail for what ever crime they tried to cover up.

Anonymous

People need to stop confusing authority and power. Authority is an arrangement that people freely enter into with someone to represent their interest. Power on the other hand, is the exercise of coercion by force if necessary in order to impose your will on others. One is legitimate and the other is evidently not.

Jerome cooper

Its sad the reason they keep doing this and i mean everywhere is cause its tax payer money so every million they gotta pay out makes the public taxes go up and the police say they did nothing wrong so the people get to pay twice cause you get assaulted then you pay for the officers that did it to continue to do it .

DallasNE

If this is happening today (and it is) then think about how things will be under a Donald Trump presidency. It makes me shudder.

Anonymous

No offence to the arrestees, but if you don't have a certain position, you have no voice, you are profiled as a statistic to the training that the police get as you are always in the wrong, you feel me.

Anonymous

I'm a little concerned with the tone of this article.

"They Got a Surprise When One Was A State Rep and the Other Was From the ACLU" kind of drips with privilege.

A baseless arrest should be as shocking and get as much media attention as this regardless of who the victims are.

This said, sue the fug out of them.

Anonymous

You idiot....this started before Donald Trump!

Anonymous

And this is news in Scott Walker country? Organizational attitudes start at the top even when the top of the heap is at the bottom of the barrel. La Follette must be turning over in his grave at the Tea Party hijacking of his once great state.

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