A caller to WMCS 1290 radio’s Morning Magazine show Wednesday took issue with Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn calling the behavior of Black youths who looted a convenience store and assaulted several individuals (reportedly White) enjoying fireworks at a park on July 4th “barbaric.”
It sounded to us as if the caller was focusing too much on a descriptive phrase; blowing it so out of proportion you’d think the police chief had made some sort of racist statement.
But how else can one describe what took place Monday evening? The chief’s adjective was correct.
The actions by a group of our community’s youth in the Riverwest area was as the chief said: “disturbing,” “outrageous”—and yes—“barbaric!”
We don’t believe the caller was making any excuses for the youths. However, we can’t help but feel a little perplexed by the person’s concern over a word, especially when it best describes such uncivil and dangerous behavior.
What took place in our city on our nation’s birthday only reinforces negative, racist beliefs that Black people—particularly our youth—are nothing more than “savages,” another word that best describes the behavior of the individuals involved in the holiday incident that had no rhyme or reason for occurring in the first place.
The Fourth of July incident rightfully has our community and political leaders outraged and concerned about the plight of our community and senseless behavior of some of our young people.
We join Aldermen Milele Coggs and Nik Kovac in calling on those with information about the incident to call the Milwaukee Police Department and report what they saw.
It’s not “snitching!” It’s showing concern for those in our city and community—regardless of color or economic status.
As Coggs and Kovac said in a joint statement on the looting and attacks, we hope the information provided by citizens will not only “bring justice in this case” but also “bring changes that can prevent these incidents from happening again.”