That feeling overwhelmed us as we watched the tape of Derek Williams struggling to breath in the back of a Milwaukee Police squad car last year just minutes before his subsequent death, which was ruled a homicide by the County Medical Examiner’s office a year after first calling it death by natural causes, which sparked comparisons to Ernest Lacy.
For those who may not know–or remember as if it was yesterday, Lacy was a young Black Milwaukee man who died 30 years ago at the hands of the police after being stopped because he “allegedly” fit the discription of a suspect in a rape that took place in a neighborhood near Wisconsin Avenue.
Lacy’s death moved Milwaukee’s Black community to anger and action. Led by Michael McGee, Sr. (before he became an alderman) and Howard Fuller (before he became one of the nation’s leading advocates of education reform), Black Milwaukeeans took to the streets and the courts calling shouting defiantly ”justice for Ernest Lacy.”
Some justice was received. Five officers involved in Lacy’s death were found guilty by the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission for failing to render first aid to Lacy.
A new law, introduced by then State Sen. Gary George, was passed limiting the tenure of the Milwaukee Police Chief, who at the time was Harold Brier who, not long after the verdict and the new law came down, resigned as chief.
Fast forward to 2012 and the eerie feeling that comes over us when we realize how much the Williams tragedy mirrors the Lacy one: Police brutality, a questionable, needless death; outrage, demands for justice and calls for…no, demands for change within the police department.
We congratulate the members of the Common Council, the NAACP and Mayor Tom Barrett for calling for a federal investigation into the Williams death.
Yet their demands and expected actions of the justice system won’t soon–if ever–heal the damage done to community-police relations.
As a matter of fact, it could be argued the relationship died with Williams July 6, 2011.
No amount of mia culpas by the MPD, the coroner’s office, the DA’s office; no amount of legislation to increase “transparency” within the department and “communication between the community and police” will bring Williams back to his family or reconnect the fragile bond that had been carefully forged with the city’s minority communities by MPD Chief Edward Flynn since taking over as head of the department.
Not only must the officers who acted so callously in Williams’ death answer for their actions, Flynn too must answer for his officers’ behavior. Just as he has aggressively worked to reduce crime on our streets, the chief must be as aggressive rooting out the “bad actors” under his command. He must also institute training procedures and policies that will change the “culture” on the force so that his officers respect human life, dignity, and the right citizens have to respectful treatment. Only then can he and his department expunge the feeling our community is experiencing having witnessed this tragic situation–and the pain it caused–before .
Place article and photo under Letter to the Editor–
President of closing Everest
College vows not to abandon its students
To the Editor:
Last month, I arrived in Milwaukee to become the new President of Everest College, a downtown campus that currently offers practical, career-oriented courses to about 280 students. I will also be the school’s last president.
As the Milwaukee Community Journal reported on September 14, Everest has made the difficult decision to close our Milwaukee campus after about two years of operations. We came here in 2010 with a terrific new facility, many years of experience in higher education for working adults and high hopes.
Unfortunately, our campus did not achieve the academic and professional results that we and our accreditors demand for our students. We fell far short of the expectations we set for ourselves and we regret that deeply.
But we are not turning our back on this community or our current and former students. The national organization that owns Everest, Corinthian Colleges Inc., has made a substantial financial commitment to ensure that students who did not succeed will not be left in debt. And all of us at Everest Milwaukee are committed to offering those students who have enrolled with us a quality education throughout the remainder of their programs.
When Corinthian Colleges opened the Everest Milwaukee campus, we had good reason to expect success. Corinthian serves 91,000 students in 26 states and Canada, on 116 campuses and online. Some of our campuses have thrived in cities with challenging economic conditions, such as Detroit. Last year, Corinthian’s schools had more than 49,000 graduates and 68% of them found employment in their fields of study.
Corinthian’s schools demand, and routinely deliver, solid results. We are closing Everest Milwaukee because it did not perform. But we still have much hard work ahead of us. We will continue to conduct classes until all our currently enrolled students complete their programs next spring. And we will offer our students career services and job placement assistance for months after they graduate. As a veteran of 30 years in career education, I’m personally committed to helping our students succeed in the classroom and in the workplace.
All of us at Everest are sorry to leave Milwaukee. But in the months ahead, we are determined to do a good job for our students and our community.
President, Everest College Milwaukee
Article and photo (of Tammy Baldwin at Obama Rally) for Perspectives–
Tommy Thompson: Definately NOT What We Need in the United States Senate
by Phillip Walzak
What kind of person does the community need and deserve in the U.S. Senate? Who will represent our needs, our issues, and our interests?
These are some of the critical questions we need to ask ourselves less than six weeks before the November 6 election for U.S. Senate.
There are two candidates running, and the facts are clear–one will fight for us on every issue, every step of the way; the other will not.
Take the issue of Medicare. Medicare is a very successful, highly popular program that provides health care to our seniors. Thousands and thousands and thousands of our grandmothers and grandfathers rely on it every day–including many in our community right her in Milwaukee. Tammy Baldwin has always fought for Medicare, and in the U.S. Senate she will work tirelessly to strengthen and defend this great program.
But Tommy Thompson, her opponent, has an entirely different view.
Because of his connections to the huge drug companies and powerful pharmaceutical special interests, Thompson says if elected to the U.S. Senate, he will repeal President Obama’s successful reforms that have improved Medicare coverage. He actually wants to do away with one of Barack Obama’s greatest achievements.
Instead, Thompson wants to reopen gaps in coverage that Obama closed. This would line the pockets of big drug companies, and increase out of pocket costs for seniors–many on tight fixed incomes.
Thompson also backs an extreme, conservative plan to end Medicare as we know it, and supports a voucher program that makes seniors pay higher health care costs. And when he worked as a senior partner at a powerful DC lobbying firm, he worked to make Medicare more expensive for seniors–while swelling the profit margin for the tycoons running the big drug and pharmaceutical companies.
Thompson even cut a sweetheart deal with the big drug and pharmaceutical companies that cost taxpayers a staggering $156 billion. This unbelievable arrangement was made when he worke for George W. Bush, and it actually made it illegal for Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for seniors.
Thompson received a number of perks for these big giveaways to the special interests. Documents show he earned at least $724,100 from the pharmaceutical industry after leaving the Busch administration.
This is part of the stunning $13 million Thompson raked in over the past few years as a partner at a powerful DC lobbying firm, leveraging his insider connections and friendships with the special interests to get rich.
It is this awful record on Medicare that Thompson brings to the race for U.S. Senate. That’s why it’s essential to answer some basic questions before you go to the polls on November 6. What kind of person does the community need and deserve in the U.S. Senate? Who will represent our needs, our issues, and our interests?
As his record on Medicare shows, it certainly isn’t Tommy Thompson. His history shows he’s NOT looking out for our grandparents, for our community, or for people in Milwaukee working hard to get by in these challenging times.