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“They’re scared they’re going to die:” Educational event aims to improve interactions between public, police

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MILWAUKEE -- Calls for change continue after unrest in Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood on the heels of the fatal officer-involved shooting of Sylville Smith on August 13th. The ACLU on Monday, September 19th partnered with members of the community to educate them about their rights when it comes to encounters with law enforcement.

Cameras weren't allowed inside the workshop at King Solomon Church near 4th and Meinecke, but FOX6 News spoke with those involved in the discussion after the event wrapped up.

ACLU workshop in Milwaukee

Tynnetta Jackson, like other mothers who are part of Milwaukee's African-American community said she worries about her son's safety should he be confronted by police.

"So if I`m nervous, I know other parents are nervous as well," Jackson said.

Tynnetta Jackson

Tynnetta Jackson

That's why Jackson organized Monday's community gathering. She said far too often, young men and women panic when they encounter law enforcement.

"Whether they`re innocent or they`re guilty, they`re scared that they`re going to die," Jackson said.

In an effort to decrease the violent interactions between the police and the public, ACLU representative Jarrett English told the group they must remain calm, but also assert their rights.

"That should be an automatic, regardless of your background," English said.

Jarrett English

Jarrett English

English was arrested on August 30th, along with Rep. Jonathan Brostoff.

Milwaukee police handcuffed the two after officers tried to break up a group at 44th and Auer -- the site where an MPD officer fatally shot Sylville Smith.

English said, for example, in that kind of situation:

"An officer has to either get your consent or a court order, to get the ability to search your person," English said.

As listeners in the crowd like Pastor Charles Watkins said they plan to share what he's learned with his congregation, he said he hopes one day the entire city will be on the same page.

ACLU workshop in Milwaukee

"Because what goes on on the north side, it affects the south side, east and west. It's a city problem," Watkins said.

The organizer of the workshop said another one is planned in mid-October on the same issue. She said that one will include a representative from the police department.


  • Opinion8d

    I can only imagine what this bogus ‘Workshop’ is costing….will there be free food??? The fact that a workshop organizer is suggesting that innocent people run from the cops because “They’re scared that they’re gonna die” is proof enough that this is a waste of time and money! This sounds like an ACLU Cop-Block seminar -just what people don’t need!!!!

  • Opinion8d

    Now that the story is updated, I’m even more certain it’s a scam…..Turning inner city ratchets into self-proclaimed ‘lawyers’ who think they can try their case on the streets! If they actually wanted to do the community a favor, they would encourage people to comply and be polite and they will be on their way if they didn’t do anything. Instead, they want to talk about supposed rights without all the details! Police can search you for their own safety-without your consent and without a court order!!! Just more evidence they have no desire to work with police -they want the police to adhere to the ‘community’s rules’ and not really uphold the law. Again, behavior mainly centered in the black communities…..sad!

  • confused

    Don’t steal cars, loot, arson, stab, shoot, posses illegal drugs, guns, knives, etc. In other words behave yourself. If you steal a car, have a gun on you and have prior convictions do NOT run. LISTEN the 1st time. Getting mouthy, struggling, fighting with the cops is ALL bad for your outcome. Did they teach you that?

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