For generations, Milwaukee has been a city crying out for justice. But there is no justice in a mob scene, and the time is now to come together as a city and peacefully reflect on our problems instead of inciting more of them.
Accordingly, I’m calling on every Milwaukeean to practice nonviolence and restraint in the nights ahead. If you feel the need to make your voice heard, I would expect you to do it peacefully, and to obey the lawful orders of the police officers charged with protecting our lives and our property.
There is a process for investigating the police-involved shooting that precipitated this weekend’s unrest, and I would ask our residents to withhold their judgment until they have learned more of the facts in this matter. I am told there is body camera footage of the shooting, and that when it is shared, it will bring additional facts to light. We are pushing to expedite the release of this video and these facts as much as possible.
Make no mistake about it, the frustration and the anger that we’ve seen expressed—sometimes violently—are very real, and so are the disparities that created them. Our city is home to neighborhoods full of kids and young people who feel trapped without opportunity, without hope and without role models. They see a world that’s passing them by because of where they were born and the color of their skin.
We have struggled for too long just to begin to rebuild our city, and we will not stand by and let violence and incivility tear it all down again. The sort of unchecked rage and destruction we have witnessed (Saturday and Sunday night) hasn’t put us any closer to finding solutions for our problems. Hurling bricks through windows doesn’t fix anything, but picking those bricks up and building something, as a community, might. I hope my neighbors will join me in seeking a peaceful solution to our problems.
Ashanti Hamilton is the president of the Milwaukee Common Council