The headline for this editorial pretty much sums up how we feel about Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm’s decision not to prosecute the three men responsible for the death of 17-year-old Corey Stingley at a West Allis convenience store after he reportedly tried to shoplift alcohol. Chisholm’s decision is what it is: a travesty of justice for which he and his office should be ashamed!
We don’t condone what Stingley did! It was wrong! But it should not have cost him his life! What Chishom did is simply mindblowing and further proof that in America--especially in Milwaukee--Black life is not valued or respected the same way White life is! To the mainstream populace, it is: “The Black kid got what he deserved! He shouldn’t have done what he did; if he didn’t try to shoplift, he wouldn’t be dead...he got what he deserved.” (Ironically, there are a few of our own people--Black people--who think the same way.) But Stingley didn’t deserve to die! And the three individuals who acted in a vigilante fashion should have been charged in the young man’s death!
Whatever happened to the charge of criminal negligence or reckless disregard for life? Now others in the mainstream community with a similar mindset as the three West Allis men will be emboldened to take the law into their own hands without fear of arrest or conviction. The target on the backs of young Black boys has just gotten larger. Stingley is--sadly--Black Milwaukee’s Trayvon Martin and the three men who committed this “crime” are “George Zimmermans” who stepped over the line in giving aid to the convenience store owner. These three “gentlemen” have gotten away with murder, pure and simple! As a consequence, our community will suffer from the fallout of their actions, not only in West Allis, but throughout the city of Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin where Black people are present.
Even if they’re not committing a crime, young Black boys better have their heads on a swivel when they are in parts of our city and county where they are outnumbered and under suspicion. We can’t help but wonder if the tables were turned and the vigilanties were Black and Stingley was White under a similar scenerio, would Chisholm have made the same decision? Or would he “find” the evidence necessary to charge the men had they been Black? We’re sure there are many in Black Milwaukee who wonder the same thing and have come to the same answer! Unfortunately Chisholm is running unopposed in his reelection bid. Perhaps it is coincidence or fortutious timing his decision comes down now and not sooner. If Chisholm can’t be removed from office via election, the community can hold him and his office accountable by being more vigilant of court proceedings involving the deaths of Black people at the hands of White people.
Should a petition be circulated calling for a recall election once the Spring elections are over? That’s up to the community to decide and act on. For any of the above to happen, the community must stay engaged in this matter and not let it recede into the background of everyday life. We must keep this at the fore of public opinion and notice. To do anything less would be another injustice towards Stingley, his family and other victims and victims families--past, present and future--whose cries for justice have been--and will be--ignored. Enough is enough!