'We have a severe problem:' Milwaukee leaders hold roundtable discussion on domestic violence

NOW: ’We have a severe problem:’ Milwaukee leaders hold roundtable discussion on domestic violence

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee leaders came together Wednesday for a roundtable discussion about domestic violence and possible solutions.

One in five homicides last year in the city were related to domestic violence or intimate partners.

Law enforcement leaders like Police Chief Alfonso Morales and County Sheriff Earnell Lucas attended the meeting, in addition to Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley, resource providers and dozens of other community representatives.

“We have a severe problem on our hands,” said Carmen Pitre, the president and CEO of Sojourner Family Peace Center.

Discussion centered around better communication within all levels of the system and sharing data and resources.

“What today represents is bringing our best thinking together to try to problem solve and help families long before an arrest call has to be made,” Pitre said.

The scourge of domestic violence was felt deeply in Milwaukee once again this week.

Arzel Ivery was charged with the murders of his five-year-old daughter Zaniya, her mother Amarah Banks, and Banks’ other daughter, four-year-old Camaria Banks.

Banks’ neighbors called 911 the night before she was reported missing earlier this month.

They say they heard loud bangs and Banks screaming, “Please don’t kill me.”

Antonia Vann, the director of the Asha Project, a domestic abuse program, says she received information about call logs that showed police responding to the call at 2 a.m.

It’s unclear what time the call was placed.

Chief Morales hasn’t specifically addressed the response to the call.

"It's not that we have a failed system,” he said. “It's that we have to work together and that's what's going to come from this [discussion], is find solutions."

The roundtable also emphasized that abuse is a learned behavior.

Morales and Pitre said children are growing up thinking violence is normal, so messaging campaigns to break that notion are being looked at.

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