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Questions, controversy surround picture of contractors open-carrying handguns while working in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A picture of contractors open-carrying handguns while working in the city of Milwaukee is making the rounds on social media. In the photo, one of the workers has his weapon pulled from his holster.

The image has caused a stir at city hall and now a group of Aldermen is demanding answers. They say - apart from law enforcement - no city employee is allowed to carry a gun while on the job per city policy.

Neighbors in the area where the picture was taken say it was an odd thing to realize: that the construction workers outside of their homes were strapped.

The construction work was happening in front of an area known as the Garden of Respect on the corners of North 19th Street and West Meinecke Avenue.

"I feel like it's pretty judgmental. Like, they came to the area over here and they just decided to pull some outrageous stunt," Martez Austin, who family lives in the neighborhood, said.

The picture was taken in front of the now un-used Phyllis Wheatley Elementary School. Along with the guns, the photo features one man wearing a reflector jacket with the words "Poblocki Paving" on it.

CBS 58 News called the company and they gave this statement: "This is not our job site and these are not our employees. Our employees wear uniforms and are not allowed to wear blue jeans. We are an employee-owned company and our employee handbook specifies no weapons. We would never condone anything like this anywhere. This is a non-employee wearing a company vest.

Instead, Poblocki Paving suggested that the workers are from a company out of Rubicon - possibly a subcontractor that will soon have a meeting with city officials.

Alderman Russell W. Stamper II said in a press release, "If this is a real, untouched photo I would like this individual and that crew removed immediately from the site and barred from any future project."

Neighbors say they saw the post spreading quickly on social media. Already the picture has thousands of shares.

"The community is...Milwaukee period is just going through and dealing with a lot at the moment, you know what i'm saying? So you're seeing a lot of different and unorthodox and weird things going on. And I feel maybe they felt the need to feel protected. But, at the end of the day, the safety of others - that's the disrespectful point of it," Austin said.

CBS 58 News reached out to the company who may have had the employees in that photo. Company officials did not return messages for comment.

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