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Chief Flynn takes controversial approach on civil unrest, draws criticism

MILWAUKEE- November 11th, 2011, it was the height of the occupy movement, and the North Avenue bridge near I-43 had been shut down by angry protestors, backing up traffic for miles. As things escalated, a handful of people were arrested when Milwaukee Police Chief Flynn ordered officers to back off.


10.0pt;font-family:\"Microsoft Sans Serif\",\"sans-serif\"\">\"We're going to withdraw most of the officers here tonight, so they can answer 911 calls, protect the community. We're going to direct traffic around here, and we are not going to fulfill the martyrdom fantasies of people who insist on being arrested,\" Flynn said in an interview.


10.0pt;font-family:\"Microsoft Sans Serif\",\"sans-serif\"\">Fast forward to 2014 and not much has changed. When protestors blocked downtown streets Wednesday  night, stopping traffic and eventually shutting down the freeway momentarily, officers quickly tried to disperse  them, but stopped short of arresting them. That strategy has been criticized by many, including Sheriff Clarke.


10.0pt;font-family:\"Microsoft Sans Serif\",\"sans-serif\"\">\"And then if they ignore you, that's when you have to make arrests, I don't want to make mass arrests, but I'm not afraid to make mass arrests,\" he said.   


10.0pt;font-family:\"Microsoft Sans Serif\",\"sans-serif\"\">Flynn has admitted in past interviews concerning the Dontre Hamilton protests that he was treading lightly, even taking notes from the unrest in Ferguson. He hoped to ease racial tension and prevent situations here in Milwaukee from spiraling out of control.


10.0pt;font-family:\"Microsoft Sans Serif\",\"sans-serif\"\">Flynn explained in an August interview, \"It's disturbing to see that level of breakdown and to see that rift develop between the police and their community, so all of us are watching it, all of us are obviously looking to learn lessons.\"


10.0pt;font-family:\"Microsoft Sans Serif\",\"sans-serif\"\">Flynn maintained that same message today.


10.0pt;font-family:\"Microsoft Sans Serif\",\"sans-serif\"\">\"We again try not to create a circumstance where our actions play into their agenda, there are subsets of people who desperately want film of us arresting them We know that,\" he said.


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