MILWAUKEE — A new name and a new strategy. The people who are trying to oust the police chief are not only looking for signatures, they’re looking for victims.
The group now known as The Coalition for Justice for Derek Williams and Others, called a special meeting Friday night, to reach out to the public. “We’re speaking out we’ve invited some of the victims of police abuse to come out, families that been affected by violence and the basic public who wants to help,” said community activist Tory Lowe. Organizer Tracey Dent added, “Educate them on what’s happening and when they tell their stories, we try to encourage them to speak to the FBI.”
They said controversy around issues, like those involving Williams, the death of teenager Darius Simmons, and the recent body cavity searches have created a lack of trust in the department.
Lowe said, “We’re out there trying to unite the community as one to weed out the bad officers and to bring justice for Derek Williams and also start building relationship with the different districts around the community.”
The folks who attended feel there is a fear in the community and spoke of different ways to hold police accountable. “Video record any confrontations with Milwaukee Police Department. I really feel like the Cop Watch program that used to go on by urban underground is important to get that back moving . At the end of the day we have to police the police,” said Anthony Williams.
The goal Friday night was to counsel, educate and become one voice. “’We want to see people not be afraid anymore we want to see people have confidence in their day to day lives. We want people to be back to normal. Right now it’s a hostile community involvement,” added Dent.
Activists believe the Grassroots efforts have helped begin a change in the policing system. So far, policies have been amended and now the FBI has gotten involved. This new unified coalition is hoping to create even more action.