Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee), who grew up in the Sherman Park neighborhood of Milwaukee and has been present in the area every night since Saturday, released the following statement concerning the recent turmoil in the neighborhood:
“The loss of another young life in our city has understandably reinvigorated the frustrations of many people – of all ages – in our community. As the epidemic of police shootings has continued to disproportionately take the lives of Black men and women, members of affected communities have grown frustrated that they are not being heard on this and many other issues that disadvantage Black people in every aspect of life, causing extreme hopelessness and trauma.
“After the first night of turmoil, it was very encouraging to see so many community members, including law enforcement, come together to help calm the situation and support the community which was hurting after the loss of a life. It was unnecessary for Sheriff Clarke to request the Governor to call in the National Guard, as the numbers of incidents had significantly declined by that point. The Sheriff’s decision to close Sherman Park was also backward thinking – taking resources away does not help the situation. Law enforcement should be an active partner in serving our community, and the biggest advocate for Black lives. We need accountability for police officers, including clear procedures that ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and that prioritize de-escalation techniques before resorting to the use of lethal force.
“Elected officials, law enforcement, and community leaders need to come together and listen to the people in our community who continue struggling to get by. They need to follow through with productive efforts to create family supporting, living wage jobs, access to health care, and high quality, adequately funded public schools.
“I encourage Governor Walker to join myself and a group of elected officials and faith leaders this Friday at 6 p.m. at Parklawn Assembly of God Church in the Sherman Park Neighborhood for a listening session that is open to the public, not invite-only, so he can better understand the challenges, the needs, and the ideas so prevalent among our residents.”