“It was traumatic:” State senator’s son detained by Milwaukee police while helping family in need

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MILWAUKEE -- State Sen. Lena Taylor said Milwaukee Police detained her teenage son Monday night while he was delivering a turkey to a needy family in their neighborhood.

Taylor said police violated the rights of her 16-year-old son, Isaiah, by stopping him, patting him down, and putting him in the back of a squad car.

"It was just traumatic," Taylor said. "When you saw that it was a turkey, and he told you that he was going to this house, two houses away, what was the purpose of holding him any longer?"

Police confirmed that Taylor's son had been questioned but called their own actions "lawful." Police said they were addressing recent robberies in the area of the Taylor home in the 1500 block of West Capitol Drive.

Lena Taylor's son Isaiah

Lena Taylor's son Isaiah

Taylor said Isaiah had just returned home with her Monday evening after handing out holiday meals to 750 needy families during an event organized, in part, by Taylor's law office. Taylor said her son wanted to deliver a turkey to a neighbor down the street from their home.

"He said, 'Mom, I think they could really use a turkey.' I said, 'OK, take one over to them.' So like a kid who doesn`t like to walk, he ran over to take them a turkey," Taylor said.

Senator Lena Taylor

Senator Lena Taylor

Taylor said her son saw a police car as he was running near 15th Street and Capitol Drive. He kept going because the vehicle's sirens weren't activated, she said.

She said an officer called out to her son.

"'Hey, hey, hey! Stop!' So my son stopped, and they proceed to get out and come talk to him and immediately start patting him down. They didn`t say anything," Taylor said.

Milwaukee Police reviewed video from one of the officers' body cameras in response to an inquiry about the incident from FOX6 News on Tuesday afternoon.

"The officers were conducting a targeted deployment to address robberies in the area," said Sgt. Tim Gauerke, a Milwaukee Police spokesman. "MPD reached out to Sen. Taylor and discussed the circumstances surrounding the officers' lawful field interview."

Taylor posted about the incident on her Facebook page late Monday, saying that her son was "terrified" during the incident. She told FOX6 News on Tuesday that she planned to contact the Police and Fire Commission about possible violations of her son's rights.

Lena Taylor's post on Facebook

Lena Taylor's post on Facebook


Taylor said an officer called her home and left a message Monday night to explain what happened. She doubted that her son, who looks younger than he is, matched the description of any robbery suspects.

"I question whether my child, who fits more like the 10 to 12 (year old) range, fits the descriptions that were mentioned," she said.

Jodie Tabak, a spokeswoman for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, did not return a phone call or email seeking comment about the incident.


  • Pass neighborhood

    So now it’s against the law to run to your neighbor’s house. I grew up on that block and we never thought you must walk not run on your your way to our neighbor’s house. I know they ask him where did he lived, he’s a minor so call his mother or take him to his house. All black youth are criminals.

  • A yooper

    The kid did as he was told. No issue here. Let the police do what they are paid to do. What are they supposed to think?? Be happy that they are watching what is going on. They are trained to be observant of surroundings. I feel for the cops & such little respect that they get. Most aspired their entire lives for that career only to be second guessed on every move that they make. Give them a break!!!!

  • Honest

    And if there had been a robbery in the area and the cops did not question someone running down the street there would be a news story about that… No matter what cops do they seem to be targeted as the bad guys these days. The cops obviously did not know that the boy was running down the street to delivery a turkey so they stopped him and questioned him. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Like I said had they not stopped him and someone reported a burglary an hour later they would still have been the bad guys… Why do we have to make an issue about every single thing that happens… I’m sure her son was terrified, hell I am an adult and would be terrified to be stopped by the cops but that is because I respect authority, not because the cops are doing something wrong. She should be proud that her son was respectful (I’m assuming) when questioned and explained the situation so he could be on his way. There is way to much crime in Milwaukee… she should be happy the police are watching the neighborhood…

  • Ken Cecil

    Has she not said in the past that this is VERY normal, for a young black male to be stopped by Police? This should have come as no surprise if that were true, but it IS NOT! He may look young, but put a gun in his hand and he gets a lot older. You would think she would be happy with the extra patrol, but leave it to a democrat to go all negative because her son was stopped. Ask the cops, bet he was just fine.

  • Dan Bridger

    Everyone has to be a victim. Get over it Senator! Or was this a perfect opportunity to get your name in the paper?

  • Scott Espeseth

    I’ll wait until I see the body camera footage before making any judgements…she’s a Facebook drama queen that tends to pander to the lowest common constituent. Unfortunately for MPD in that area it’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation.

  • Opinion8d

    So you would rather ignore the fact that it’s a high crime area and the police should just sit by and wait for someone to call them? Much of police work is based on experience and intuition. Everything they did was for their safety as well as his, until the situation could be figured out. Instead of being angry with the police, they should be angry with their community for all the crime that makes situations like this suspicious.

    • Opinion8d

      @ Black Power – Milwaukee Police responded to a report of unlawful entry on Dec. 21, 2015 at 8:08 p.m.
      Source: MPD Call #15355266 (12th& Capital); Milwaukee Police responded to a report of property damage on Dec. 21, 2015 at 12:34 p.m. Source: MPD Call #153551089 (17th & Capital) ; Milwaukee Police responded to a report of unlawful entry to an automobile on Dec. 22, 2015 at 10:48 a.m. Source: MPD Call #153560781 (17th & Cptl); Milwaukee Police responded to a report of battery on Dec. 20, 2015 at 9:55 a.m. Source: MPD Call #153540802 (15th & Capital) ; Milwaukee Police responded to a report of a stolen vehicle on Dec. 16, 2015 at 3:42 p.m.
      Source: MPD Call #153501619 (15th & Capital) ; Milwaukee Police responded to a report of an armed robbery on Dec. 20, 2015 at 7:02 a.m. Source: MPD Call #153540562 (5th & Capital):: Source- JSOnline Crime map. Maybe that’s not ‘high’ from what you’re used to….. there’s more too, I just tried to keep it relevant to the location in the story.

  • ibn nate

    I’m happy the young man submitted to police orders because extreme fear could have caused him to panic and make the wrong move, which means the police could have used excessive force on this child. It’s also great to see law enforcement attempting to do their job in a city like Milwaukee, but I do believe there are more apparent criminals on the streets. Just go to 49th Center and turn south on the block, and you will encounter a horrific scene, that is literally a minute from the police station on Lisbon. My advice to Ms. Taylor is to thank “The Creator” that your child is still alive and accept an apology if they offer one because we (ALL) are familiar with the social deterioration of Milwaukee and the strong need for the presence of law enforcement.

  • Opinion8d

    you are delusional – it’s called community policing. The problem is that most of the cops do know the people in the community. Many because they busted them before (Freddie Gray was well known by the police and a known runner). Cops know more than you think or give them credit for -they probably know more about their area than most residents. (Mailmen seem to know the most). Keep living in your fear of the police -hope you never need one.

  • ThinkMore

    The police made a quick judgment of this teen. If they looked a lil closer/longer, they would have seen the turkey & noticed he was innocent, without questioning/detaining him. Evey man in my family has experienced this situation with police. One example is that my brother was walking home from work in his Mcdonalds uniform just 1 block away from home, 3 cop cars drove up to him & 2 had guns pointed at him. Twice i have been pulling into my driveway, i take one step out & theres a cop rite behind me wanting to know who i am & where im going; i didnt even know they where behind/following me.
    What these situations create is a negative outlook on cops from regular innocent folks minding their own business. Cops dont need to rush people; which can also put the cops own lives in danger. They need to observe then secure the area first; dont immediately jump into harms way.

  • Wendy Benson

    It’s Lena Taylor, come on, I would have expected her to defend her son and tell the police how to do their jobs in her neighborhood and yes if there had been a robbery or burglary she would’ve been all bent out of shape for that too, can’t win.

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