8 months ago, a mentally disturbed individual was shot dead just outside Milwaukee City Hall (several days later, I met with an alderman on a project, and his office faced the side of the building where the shooting occurred; he said he went to the window, rather than diving for cover.) Of course, the dead guy (Dontre Hamilton) is black, and the killing officer is white.
In conjunction with the nationwide demonstrations inspired by Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Milwaukee had demonstrations that added this local un-necessary police murder to the list. Even shut down a freeway; Milwaukeeans are hard to move once we take a stand.
Well, they announced the Official Dispensation today: the White Officer will not be charged or investigated. Color me shocked (pink and shocked). I have several friends who have been at the protests. The protests have been completely peaceful: sad and potent. That has not prevented the Milwaukee Polizei from arresting a bunch of them anyway (bringing y’all up to speed: back when Harold Breier was Chief of Police, his force was notable for beating the hell out of just about anybody, but particularly Citizens of Color. Killed several of them, too. To the point that the Violent Femmes wrote this:
Which has not, of course, prevented our rightwing idiot county Shirriff, Richard Clarke, from angling for camera time and wing nut radio microphone access by blaming it all on “outside agitators” and “communists”.
I kid. One of those was not part of his official rationale for full riot gear and arresting a bunch of hippies and old ladies.
I bring this up because on Monday morning, i had a meeting with a long time repeat client, and several other people to discuss several projects to continue the successful redevelopment of a commercial corridor Third Street, which was a center of African American life before the destruction of freeways, ‘urban redevelopment’, and the flight of manufacturing (rather than give jobs to blacks) destroyed that community. Do you think I am harsh? Fuck you; that was the underlying motivation of much of urban planning in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. And 90s. And 2000s. Do you think it no longer applies? You’re a fool. Of course it does. It elected Turdwaffle three times.
So we were sitting in this meeting; two of us were white, three were black, and one was Latina. The decision was mentioned, almost in passing; the one person who hadn’t heard said “do I have to ask” to which I answered “no.” And the person who is my client and I respect as a very level headed person said “Do you think it was coincidence that the announcement was made on a cold day in December with crappy weather just before Christmas? Is that supposed to not be planned?” And he didn’t say that in an accusatory way, or a challenging way; but as a simple, weary, statement of the burden of being African American on a daily basis.
All I could do was listen. What could I contribute?
FUCK YOU DAILY SHOW BREAKING EMBED
[Anyways, you probably know the segment. It’s the one where Stewart finishes by saying “You’re tired of hearing about it? Imagine how f*cking exhausting it is living it.”]
But I feel that Stewart’s piece needs to be augmented for this particular Milwaukee-centric instance. Sheriff Clarke, who is fanning the flames by instigating the red-scare era code-words “outside agitators” to pretend that Black Panthers are going to take over the city while he supports the white suburban assholes who love to cheer on the murder of unarmed black people, I have one thing that you need to hear: