Friday, August 22, 2014

News
Angry Protestors Take Over Fire and Police Commission Meeting
Over Decision to Put Violent Officer Back on Force
by Michele McCormack
by Mike Strehlow


MILWAUKEE-Inside City Hall Thursday night, anger, fingerpointing, profanity and the constant banging of the gavel.

Fire and Police Commission members found themselves under fire for giving a fired officer, Richard Schoen, his job back even after video show he punched a handcuffed female suspect.

In a 2-1 vote the commission gave him a 60 day suspension.

It was the latest in a series of misconduct complaints against police and it's taken a definite racial tone.

Several speakers recalled the words of civil rights legend Malcolm X.

"White men used to put on sheets and beat and hang us. Now they put on a police uniform!" one speaker boomed.

For the first time the woman shown in the video being punched by Schoen spoke out.

"It's frightening, it's disturbing, it's scary," Janine Tracy told the commission. A protestor held her hand for support.

Several times the commission threatened to adjourn the public hearing because of the shouts and outbursts, but allowed people to have their say.

When Police Chief Ed Flynn got up to speak the shouts grew louder.

"Hey, hey, ho, ho...Chief Flynn has got to go!" They chanted.

Flynn was actually the one who fired the officer who punched Tracy. He was overturned by the commission.

But the demonstrators are still angry with Flynn over a wrongful death investigation involving a handcuffed suspect and a criminal case against several 5th District officers for alleged illegal strip searches.

In the end, the commission decided to meet again next Tuesday and reconsider their decision to reinstate officer Schoen.