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Public Safety Meeting addresses concerns regarding BBC documentary on Milwaukee crime

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Some city leaders say a recent documentary on crime in Milwaukee paints the city in a bad light.

Chief Flynn answered questions about that documentary at a public safety meeting on Monday. Chief Flynn was on the defensive. He says he had no editorial control over the making of "Dark States: Murder in Milwaukee." It didn't, however, stop tensions from rising inside city hall this afternoon.

The Chief said he did not know a recent BBC documentary would highlight the city's challenges with violence and homicides.

"The fact is as our timeline will reveal, we were misled, in fact, we were lied to by representatives of the BBC," said Chief Flynn.

For more than an hour and a half, Flynn answered questions from the city's Public Safety Commission, as well as several other alderpeople, who wanted to know just how much the chief knew about what the documentary would show. It profiles residents who've armed themselves for protection and features footage from a number of homicide scenes.

"What final product would we be seeing if things turned out the way you thought they were?" Flynn was asked.

"My expectation was they would've spent more time with local leaders and members of the criminal justice system to discuss a wide variety of interventions at a neighborhood level," Flynn responded. 

MPD said Monday they were in discussions with BBC for months before the film crews arrived in August of 2016.

"What we can't allow to happen is that the thought that the chief made this decision so we don't care about homicides in this community," said Ald. Milele Coggs.

The chief said before the documentary was aired, they were allowed to review it, and althought they expressed their concerns to the crew, their comments on how the documentary turned out were allegedly ignored. That led to some heated discussions amongst those at the meeting.

"These are funerals we're attending. We fight every single day to help address that. All we're asking for is a little accountability from the chief's office and we have a right to ask him that."

The meeting was just a discussion about transparency. It was ended because of time constraints at city hall.


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