Community agencies seek “transparency,” urge release of body cam video from officer-involved shooting

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MILWAUKEE -- Community agencies held a news conference on Thursday morning, August 18th to urge authorities to release body cam video from the officer who fatally shot Sylville Smith on August 13th. The news conference was led by Martha De La Rosa of Wisconsin Jobs Now, Chris Ahmuty of the ACLU of Wisconsin and Dameion Perkins of the Coalition for Justice.

Sylville SmithThe incident started Saturday afternoon, when officers stopped two people who were in a car on the north side, according to the Milwaukee Police Department. Shortly after, both car occupants fled on foot as officers pursued them, police said. During the chase, an officer shot one of the two, Smith. Authorities say he was armed with a handgun. Smith was shot in the arm and chest -- he died on the scene.

In Thursday's news conference, Martha De La Rosa, Executive Director for Wisconsin Jobs Now urged investigators to release the body cam video from the officer to the family first -- and then to the community. She said they in no way want to complicate the Department of Justice investigation.

Martha De La Rosa, Exec. Dir. of Wisconsin Jobs Now

Martha De La Rosa, Exec. Dir. of Wisconsin Jobs Now

"Without transparency and the release of the body cam video, this community cannot, I repeat, this community cannot fully work to heal and move forward in a positive way," De La Rosa said.

De La Rosa said without the release of the body cam video, she fears the unrest in Milwaukee will reignite -- "and the impact will be greater than what we saw this last weekend.

Chris Ahmuty, Exec. Dir. of ACLU of Wisconsin

Chris Ahmuty, Exec. Dir. of ACLU of Wisconsin

Chris Ahmuty of the ACLU of Wisconsin officially made a request on Monday, August 15th for the body camera video to be released.

"The public, the investigators, everybody has an interest in what happens to the evidence that may be on the body-worn camera," Ahmuty said.

Ahmuty said there are two things they are concerned about -- the first, being chain of custody.

"What happened to that camera? Is the video tampered with? Is it being used to move the investigation forward?" Ahmuty said. "The other issue is public access. After the family gets to see the video, when will the public get to see it? Will it get to see it completely without anything getting edited out?"

Ahmuty also raised questions about statements made by Police Chief Ed Flynn and Mayor Tom Barrett about the circumstances which led to the shooting of Smith.

"Every day they hold off on the release of the video and hold off on answering simple questions about the investigation diminishes community trust," said Ahmuty.

Dameion Perkins, Coalition for Justice

Dameion Perkins, Coalition for Justice

Dameion Perkins, representing the Coalition for Justice and the Dontre Hamilton family, also spoke.

"The main point people need to understand is what took between that officer and that gentleman that lost his life. If you say that he (Smith) has done wrong, then release the evidence which shows that he was in wrongdoing. Just don't speak about it," Perkins said. "Healing for them (Smith family) will be seeing what is set out to be wrongdoing. And if not, allow them to find legal representation and present them in a legal manner."

The officer, 24, was assigned to District 7 and has six years of service with the Milwaukee Police Department -- three of those as an officer. He was not injured and is on administrative duty during the investigation and subsequent review by the district attorney's office.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said Sunday that officer is African-American, and there are concerns for his safety.

The body camera video is not being released at this point, as the investigation continues.

"We’re going to have to weigh a couple different things. We have to weigh the public’s benefit. We have to weigh the rights of the officer involved. We have to weigh the concern that DCI has to have an investigation. I suppose there are people that would say we might have to protect a potential jury pool someday, I don’t know," Flynn said in a previous news conference.

By state law, the Wisconsin Department of Justice is leading the investigation.

39 comments

  • phacepalm

    At this point ” it doesn’t matter”. ( I heard that some where before) Make this thug an example for future thug and thuggets. This is the ONLY way they might understand. Enough with this sh^!.

    • TED

      The ACLU and Coalition should know justice takes time. They should be patient and let the process complete itself. BTW, there is only justice. Anything else is injustice.

      • phacepalm

        One more thing.. I can’t believe how these injustices on innocent victims have been going on for so long. Yet one dirt bag thug gets dropped by an MPD officer defending himself & city ,most of the African Americans in this city flip out!
        Something is really f’d up here! And across this country!

      • Don Keedix

        Good luck on trying to pressure the State Dept of Criminal Investigation to release the video. These same community groups that pushed for the law to have an outside agency investigate these incidents are now whining because they can’t have their way. You should have thought ahead morons.

  • guest73

    Since when is evidence released to the public, before the investigation is complete? And do you really think if the family views the video first, that they won’t release it right to the highest (media) bidder? Does it matter? Whatever the video shows, they’ll spin it however they want. This cop has already been tried & convicted and some are even trying to carry out the sentence.

  • Opinion8d

    Who the hell do these people think they are?!?!? There is a process to this and that may take more time than they would like -tough!! We shouldn’t be given into thug behavior/riots and we shouldn’t be handling anything special because they think they are entitled so some special treatment!! Liberals are the biggest pieces of Sh!t around-especially the ACLU!! To top it off, the rioters and thugs and many community leaders are so fricken ignorant, that it doesn’t even matter what the video shows -the guys sister said it herself the other day. If they aren’t bothered by the fact that he ran from the cops, and had a gun……or if those people are okay with all the thugs threatening the cops and talking sh!t in their face -there’s nothing, absolutely nothing that can help them!!!

    • Sheila Moyet

      They think that the process doesn’t pertain to them because they are black. Blacks have been conditioned to believe that they are entitled to special privileges. and if they don’t get it they yell racism.

  • Gary Hamilton

    Our far left Mayor and Police Chief both feel the shooting was justifiable. This Police Chief is known to throw his officers under the bus to not up set the criminal element. You people don’t make the rules for an investigation the state does.

  • Dantheman

    These people are ridiculous. Now days everyone feels entitled to get all of the information and body can videos right away. They complain about racial problems and no jobs and no education. Don’t they realize whos been failing them at mayors office for years and the White House. Vote Trump!!!!They have no idea what goes into these investigations. Now with the department of justice having to investigate fatal officer involved shootings these investigations take even longer.

  • phacepalm

    “Without transparency and the release of the body cam video, this community cannot, I repeat, this community cannot fully work to heal and move forward in a positive way,” BS! Thugs shooting thugs almost EVERY night for years Now. tell me……. Is that moving forward in a positive way?

  • Arizona

    It says in the article that the family wants to see it so they may see the wringdoing or that they may get legal representation. First of all wrongdoing was clearly going on as 3 suspects did 0not stop for the police ,but chose to run!! The sister already clearly boasts he always has his gun with him. The mayor even vouched that he saw a still shot of the video WITH the suspect holding a gun. No family seems to care about the investigation going it’s normal course. Threatening more unrest because you can’t see a video quite yet is BS! Seeing the actual death footage will not help anyone have closure!
    SO as the article states the famy needs to see the body cam video so they might need to attain legal representation. There you have it all in a nut shell…instead of admitting he was shady and running around with a gun and from the police they want to be the victim and get on the bandwagon to sue. Yeah all about the $$!
    Let the facts and investigation play out before you start counting your $! Stop blaming everyone but the ones who did not stop for a police officer!! They clearly took part in thae tragic ending to a traffic stop. We all know we must stop and do as an officer says. Since when do families and cities get to go all in “unrest” when the laws clearly were not followed by the suspects!
    Get a job. Don’t carry guns or sling drugs. Go to school. Have goals.Be respectful of your community and law enforcement. Have an achieve goals! Be an inspiration to your kids and a good person to all your neighbors!
    It’s easier to be a criminal than to do right and hold a job and be honest and hardworking. Challenge yourself to do what’s right and be a good person.

  • NO HOPE WITH THIS GROUP

    Martha’s having a tough time focusing on the daily shootings and the occasional Black on Black Homicide without seeing this video. GIVE HER THIS VIDEO. She doesn’t seem to be the type who can focus on more than one thing at a time. Then, and only then, she can go back to ignoring the Black on Black Homicides that she ignores so well.

  • Norell

    These people are just more losers looking for a fast buck. They are just like the mussie invaders living off someone else’s money.

  • harry

    The shooting was most likely justified if the suspect was armed and refused to comply with police orders. BLM always have to play the race card even if they’re in the wrong. How about people start taking responsibility for their own dumb actions. Stupid. Poor excuse of a city ran by idiots.

  • confused

    You think they care what’s on the tape? A few of them have voiced right here on fox 6 and in other articles and on line that “it don’t matter”. They are mad that a criminal in possession of a stolen gun and stolen ammo, fled, refused to drop the weapon and got shot dead. Instead of waiting for the results and due process, they are looting, arson, riots, throwing rocks at cops, shooting each other, running each other down in cars, it will not stop. This is their temper tantrum bullying way. It’s not because of unemployment, those that want jobs have them. It’s not because 200 years ago in the south usa they were related to slaves, it’s because they have been raised with absolutely no respect for parents, law, and society. Instead of toddlers holding their breath and stomping their feet, they are committing felonies. It’s awful that the good hardwoking,taxpaying people live in fear every night that their homes may be burned down, work place torched, their babies shot off their laps.

  • Stan

    It all boils down to this: NONE of this BULL SH** would be happening IF that thug would NOT have RUN from the police, had a GUN and turned and POINTED THAT GUN at the Officer! The SHOOTING was JUSTIFIABLE..!

  • Micheal Corleonee

    This is my offer. I expect blacks to stop all the black on black killings and car thefts. Blacks quit having babies out of wedlock. Then I expect them to pay the city for pain and suffering. Then release the video. Healing was already taken care of by the peace officer.

  • Mouw

    Release the damn video!!! All this will show is a trouble making jobless black male with a stolen weapon that he didn’t drop when he was told to. Same old same old. A poor jobless black male. Boo hoo hoo. Get a damn job and you will
    be too tired to commit crimes.

  • imcrazy

    After Ferguson all the victims and their families wanted body cams. I thought it was a good idea because it would show justified shootings and stop all of this BS. I would like to see the video too. When the video is shown the truth will show who is innocent and who is guilty. Odds are that the one who has the longest arrest record is/was in the wrong.

  • LIBERALFAIL

    We should bring back the old west bounty hunters and the 7 man hangings. Cattle rustlers were hung by the rope. No reason not to do the same for car thieves. A good setup would be red arrow park during lunch time where the guilty are read their sentence and properly punished for all to see. Liberals can’t handle the sound of neck snapping so they need not attend. I would probably guess that car jacking rate would drop to zero within an hour after the punishment is administered.

    • hoodrat lies

      I saw that movie, hang em high with Eastwood. Nice props when they all get to speak and the judge nods his head and all the ropes snap at once.

  • Nate Jr.

    The family of smith can be proud because he finished in second place in the Quick Draw competition on that fateful day!!! Celebrate his 2nd place finish!!!

  • Nate Jr.

    All of these loser community leaders think they know what caused the rioting by the savages. Have they actually spoken to a single savage involved in the looting and arson?? Hell no they just dream this BS up in their small minds. These animals who looted and burned businesses, fired gunshots at Police vehicles and other people are simply opportunistic criminals who took advantage of this incident and stole their liquor, cigarettes, hair extensions, etc. then started the fires. I say take as much time as necessary to complete the investigation and don’t even release the video at all. Declare Martial Law when when they start to loot and burn again SHOOT TO KILL THESE ANIMALS. Real simple.

  • Dylan

    The victims family already said on camera that even if the video shows him with a gun pointed at the officers they won’t believe it and will say it is tampered with..just like the victims sister wanted the rioters to go to the suburbs and burn the white people sh** down….these people are.like maggots.and leeches….would love to see their job resumes lol

  • WPWW

    thug had stolen gun, pointed it at cop, got shot…case closed…move on, just another reason to CHIMP OUT, easier than finding a job i guess

  • hoodrat lies

    They burned their own town down. They kill their own offspring. They destroy everything they touch. They use rap music as call to prayer. They oppress the white people by raping killing and stealing from them. Even social justice warrior feel good elite white’s that support black lies matter get mugged and shot for their own stupidity. Blacks in the hood have been let down by the democratic party and keep on voting for them like a addict on drugs. Good black folks know this. Only stupid liberal lefty geo soros the son of the devil types don’t want any change and want chaos.

  • sparkles!

    The problems lies within the community it self. Black on black crimes, they are shooting each other and for what reason? You have some one sitting in their vehicle and are getting shot. Now we have an officer that is fearing for his life and he is African American and his own race is threatening him.. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH “Black LIVES MATTER. Please let this officer live in peace. MY LOVE GOES OUT TO THIS OFFICER AND HIS FAMILY.

  • Sheila Moyet

    “this community cannot fully work to heal and move forward in a positive way,” De La Rosa said. Heal and move forward from exactly what? From an armed thug getting shot by a police officer in the line of duty who was protecting the community? Where was all the outrage for all the innocent children that were murdered by random gun fire? Where was the outrage for this poor little girl that was killed in her home by low life scum bags? They burn, loot and destroy for a thug, but nothing for the children. This community has a twisted way of thinking.
    http://archive.jsonline.com/news/crime/significant-developments-in-investigation-of-5-year-old-layla-petersens-killing-b99599982z1-334617721.html

  • Freddie

    The only people who can fix the black community are the people who live in the black community. End of story.

Comments are closed.