Milwaukee Police said six protesters were arrested Thursday night at a rally for Dontre Hamilton in Red Arrow Park for using voice amplification equipment. Nate Hamilton, Dontre’s brother, Jennifer Epps-Addison, executive director of Wisconsin Jobs Now, and two individuals who were targeted by police late last year for organizing protests in Milwaukee’s central city were among the arrestees. Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said the protesters did not have a permit.
Protesters gathered outside the MPD District 2 station, where three of the individuals were initially taken. All of those arrested were eventually taken downtown for processing. District 2 Captain Alfonso Morales said the individuals would receive state disorderly conduct charges; he could not say why state charges would be issued, instead of a city violation, which would carry no more than a $500 fine.
— Jabril Faraj (@jabrilfaraj) November 20, 2015
A lawyer who said she was representing one of the people in custody was denied access to her client. She was told, initially, that she must know the individual’s name; after presenting a name, she was still not admitted to District 2 and was told by an officer that the individual was not currently being questioned. Some protesters who were outside the District 2 station said black individuals had been specifically targeted by police and were taken from among a crowd of people at the park, where a city tree lighting also took place Thursday night.
— Ashley Sears (@AshleySears6) November 19, 2015
Flynn said, “We have tolerated an awful lot disruption in this city due to these individuals.”
“This is a time of celebration for the kids, so it’s unfortunate that people want to disrupt something for kids,” added Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
All Peoples Church Pastor Steve Jerbi said the protest was “intended to show the children that not everyone is celebrating at this time of year and children should know what goes on in the city they live in,” according to CBS 58.
Update (Nov. 28, 2015): State Rep. David Bowen, who represents parts of Milwaukee and Shorewood and was present at District 2 with protesters, issued a statement Tuesday saying, “Nate Hamilton and other advocates should not have been arrested last Thursday night for attempting to remind Milwaukee that the Hamilton family did not receive justice and that Black Lives actually Matter.” He called for all charges to be dropped and for Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee to issue an apology.