Sunday, October 14, 2012

Coalition Formed To Oust Milwaukee Police Chief Flynn

Edward A. Flynn

Black community Coalition for Justice for Derek Williams and others is seeking victims of police brutality and abuse to come forward.

By H. Nelson Goodson
October 14, 2012

Milwaukee, WI - On Friday, a group in the African-American community began to circulate petitions to get about 10,000 signatures from Milwaukee residents demanding the ouster of Milwaukee Police Chief Edward A. Flynn. Flynn has said, he is not going anywhere, regardless an attempt by the Black community's citywide organizing efforts to get him fire.
Flynn since getting hired in 2008 has put the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) in the middle of scandals including his extramarital affair with a married reporter, the department was accused of changing certain crime statistics to indicate low crime in the city. Flynn blamed the crime statistic errors incident as human error.
Flynn's lack of inquiry in the death of Derek Williams, 22, whose last moments of his life were captured on a squad camera pleading for help because he had a difficult time breathing. Several officers ignored his pleas and Williams died in the squad car. 
Chief Flynn admitted that he learned about the Milwaukee Coroner's report that first indicated that Williams had died of a medical illness and didn't see the squad car video showing Williams pleading for help until later. A year later, the Coroner's Office reclassified Williams death as a homicide.
The recent illegal strip search case involving police officers who conducted cavity and anal searches in public involved mostly Black victims. Four officers were charged in the case. 
Chief Flynn was forced to investigate the illegal strip search cases after initial complaints were not taken seriously by the department. After continued pressure by victims and their attorney's to investigate the alleged illegal strip searches by officers, Flynn had to act after months of a John Doe strip search investigation ended and determined that crimes were committed. Flynn pursued charges against Police Officers Jeffrey Dollhopf, Jacob Knight, Brian Kozelek and Michael Vagnini for allegedly committing illegal and unauthorized strip searches.
In late 2007, Flynn became the first controversial chief applicant in the hiring process for a new police chief in Milwaukee when Mayor Tom Barrett decided to bring in Flynn at the last minute after the applicant deadline had long past and Barrett wasn't happy with the Hispanic and Black high-ranking Milwaukee officers left to choose from in the hiring process. Barrett sent a strong message by choosing Flynn an outsider who was sworn in as chief in January 8, 2008, that no Milwaukee high-ranking officer was well trained enough to become chief. 
This year, Flynn's contract was renewed, but he has yet to efficiently manage the department and to adequately train officers dealing with minority communities. Flynn has changed some policies, since becoming chief.
Mayor Barrett continues to support Flynn, despite under Flynn's commend, the MPD has gradually lost credibility throughout the years in both the Black and Hispanic communities.
The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission can only terminate Flynn. If Williams would have been White, most likely Flynn's future in the MPD would definitely be cut short.
The FBI is now involved in the Williams and strip search cases to see, if Milwaukee police officers engaged in civil rights violations of victims.

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