MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Milwaukee on Friday afternoon, August 22nd to stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, Missouri — they’re demanding justice for the police-involved shooting of Michael Brown. But this group has another agenda as well.
The rally got its start at Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee. That's a location familiar to many -- for all the wrong reasons. This spring, Red Arrow Park was the backdrop for what some allege is the city's own "Michael Brown" incident.
On April 30th, a Milwaukee police officer shot and killed 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton, a mentally ill African-American man, after an apparent altercation. That officer-involved shooting was investigated by an outside agency. The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office is still reviewing the results.
Mike Wilder is the organizer of Friday's rally. He says it's a chance to stand with the people of Ferguson, Missouri.
"The goal here is to bring about awareness that there are families who have not received justice for their loved ones being victims of violence from law enforcement," said Wilder.
Not only is it part of the national '"Hands up, don't shoot" movement to honor Michael Brown. It's also a rally for change here in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee County Supervisor David Bowen is among those calling for the release of documents pertaining to the Hamilton investigation -- in hopes of providing justice and closure for a family close to home.
"Whenever you have individuals -- especially those with mental illnesses taken with lethal force -- I think we really need to re-look at the treatment of everybody in our community," said Bowen.
Bowen says a larger issue remains -- building a better relationship between the Milwaukee Police Department and African-American community.
"We want to have transparency. It's so important to have the trust of the community and relations with our law enforcement," said Bowen.
When the group reached the Safety Building, it was expected to read a list of demands they have for law enforcement. The group plans to do all of this again on Monday afternoon, August 25th. The gathering on that day will be the federal courthouse -- to urge for federal assistance here in Milwaukee with police relations.
“We're demanding that they release the names the name of the officer that killed Dontre Hamilton and we here with the family we here with the community and we just want answers to our questions,” said community activist, Tory Lowe.
The rally then turned into a showdown between protesters and police while gathered just outside the doors of the Police Administration building.
Police were stationed outside all of the building's doors for a couple of hours -- and they were not letting anyone come inside.
The mass of people were still jammed inside, refusing to leave until they get some answers about the death of Dontre Hamilton.
Dontre Hamilton's brother Nathaniel was amongst the rally leaders.
"I got a headache and it never goes away it never goes away like I just how can I rest how can Dontre rest he was shot multiple times the officer unloading his weapon into his body," said Nathaniel.
When asked if they were willing to stay throughout the night, FOX6 News was told:
"We're willing to stay as long as it takes," said Lowe.
At one point, part of the group traveled out onto the balcony of the Police Administration building. That's when police officers filed out and blocked access back into the building. There were still plenty of people inside though, who were in there for about three hours.
Police shut off the air conditioning in the building, perhaps hoping to make the crowd uncomfortable enough to leave.
After about three hours, around 8:00 p.m. the crowd finally left.
FOX6 News is told the plan is now for them to meet with police on Monday.
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