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Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

Ferguson Shooting Resonates in Milwaukee

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The media have been focused on the outpouring of anger following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., by a police officer. But the same anger and frustration exists in Milwaukee, too.

Last Friday, more than 100 Milwaukeeans rallied in solidarity with Ferguson as they marched from Red Arrow Park—where Dontre Hamilton was fatally shot 14 times by a Milwaukee Police officer in April—to MPD offices Downtown. Organized by the African American Roundtable, the coalition of supporters are calling for a host of immediate demands, including the release of a decision by the Wisconsin Criminal Investigation Division about Hamilton’s death; the demilitarization of the police department; cameras placed on police officers, police departments and dash cameras; easy access to records about racial disparities; and decriminalization of marijuana.

But some ralliers had more personal concerns.

Craig Stingley, father of Corey Stingley, said he understood the pain that Michael Brown’s father was feeling. Corey Stingley, an African American 16-year-old, was killed by three white men in a convenience store in West Allis in December 2012 after allegedly trying to steal liquor. While the Milwaukee County medical examiner ruled his death a homicide, Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm didn’t issue charges. The U.S. Department of Justice is looking into the matter.

“These are murders,” Stingley said. “My son was murdered. He was executed. Dontre Hamilton was executed right here. There is no difference. Murder anywhere is murder everywhere.”

Members of Hamilton’s family held up a banner and spoke of their grief following his death.

The peaceful ralliers chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “Black lives matter” as they marched to the MPD offices, where they staged a sit-in. Two police captains agreed to meet with organizers on Monday afternoon to address their concerns.