Compiled by MCJ Staff
Though the Milwaukee Police Department is being scrutinized by the public and media for recent unlawful activities of some officers, Ald. Joe Davis warned the criminal element not to get too comfortable or bold thinking they have carte blanche over the city.
“Let’s be clear about one thing, (the recent abuses of power by MPD) is not an invitation for lawbreakers to try and hide their crimes behind accusations against MPD officers who are simply doing their jobs,” Davis said recently as the MPD and Fire and Police Commission struggle to regain the public’s trust.
Within the last two years, the MPD has been underfire for incidents in which officers have been accused of using excessive force towards individuals in their custody.
Recent revelatiions in the death of Darryl Williams in the back of a police squad car, an officer hitting a handcuffed female suspect in the back of a squad car (both incidents caught on video tape), and allegatioins of illegal strip searches by officers of suspected drug dealers has put the department and its chief, Edward Flynn on the defensive.
Even the Fire and Police Commission has come under scrutiny. Last December, the commission reinstated the officer who assaulted the woman in the squad car. The ruling touched off a fire storm of condemnation by the community, elected officials and civil rights organization that led to calls for the dismantlement of the commission.
Though the commission reversed its decision, the dye had been cast and the governing body that oversees the fire and police departments finds itself also under the microscope of public opinion.
Davis stressed the scrutiny the MPD is experiencing is “a good thing” for both it and the community. “I strongly urge anyone who believes they are the legitimate victims of police abuse of power to come forward and report it.”
Davis, who is a member of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, said officers who commit crimes can expect to be brought to justice within the confines of police procedure and the law.
“I will not advocate for police to turn a blind euye to crime,” Davis added. “If a person continues to engae in illegal activity and leaves police no choice but to utilize an appropriate level of force in apprehending that criminal, I expect police to do their jobs and enforce he law. The law-abiding public deserves no less.
“There is a balance between right and wrong,” Davis said. “Milwaukee police officers must follow the rules that have been established to protect the public, just as criminals should NOT expect to be pardoned for their wrong doing simply by crying “foul” and making frivolous claims of police brutaility.”
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