Rainbow PUSH calls for new attention in Simmons death

MILWAUKEE — A group of community leaders in Milwaukee is calling for change in the wake of the death of 13-year-old Darius Simmons. Those leaders say the crime against Simmons is worse than the Trayvon Martin controversy in Florida — and deserves more attention.

According to his family, Simmons was taking out the garbage when his neighbor, 75-year-old John Spooner, approached and accused him of breaking into his house. They say Spooner then shot the boy from five feet away.

Spooner was taken into custody by police after admitting shooting Simmons. He is now charged with first-degree intentional homicide.

Members of Chicago-based Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the NAACP and area church groups all met with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett Friday, June 8th.

They say they have concerns about a young African-American teen being shot by an older white man, and also, how police handled the investigation that day.

“She (Darius’ mother) waited in the police cruiser for over two hours while Darius laid on the ground. Her home was ransacked by Milwaukee police officers,” Bishop Tavis Grant with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition said.

Just days before the murder, Spooner had been a victim of a break-in. He told police someone had stolen multiple shotguns from his home and he suspected it was one of his neighbors.

“I would have a transparent, quick process to make sure that she was treated appropriately and our citizen-comprised Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission will take a look at this,” Mayor Barrett said.

Barrett does not believe this case will lead to any racially-motivated violence in the city.

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