Remove MKE Police Force Power Abusers

By Kay Koneazny

Kay Koneazny is a retired nurse, a community advocate, and a 45-year resident of Sherman Park.

I left the last Fire and Police Commission meeting on June 7, 2018, with a heavy heart. During the Public Comment segment, I am used to hearing speakers demand, even threaten. Last Thursday night felt different. While demands for police transparency and accountability were made, there also were individual poignant, painful stories of felt victimization, of police abuse of power, of serious loss of trust. A social worker admitted that, before calling the police to help a mentally ill man she observed, she asked herself, “If I call, will I be contributing to his death?”

A woman told of her uncle being shot 15–17 times while on his front porch where he had come out with a hand gun, firing shots in the air to stop a fight in front of his house. He was blind and in poor health. There were several other family members in the house behind him.

A man told of being shot twice in the back by officers, who then allegedly lied on their report of the incident.

A woman, who said she raised her daughters to be an asset to the community, had no words to explain to them the trauma they experienced when pulled over for a mechanical issue on their car.

The 2017 Police Use of Force report indicated that only 22 percent of officers were involved in a use of force incident. The FPC was asked to get power abusers off of the force and to find a method to ensure that officers are mentally fit to do their admittedly very stressful work.

A number of speakers recalled better days when they were kids and looked forward to engaging with officers for the baseball cards. To reestablish trust is a process requiring good will and eventual vulnerability on all sides. I hope that Chief Morales will continue to hold community trust as a primary goal of his tenure. I hope, too, that the FPC will do all in its power to assist him and his officers in this endeavor. The future quality of our neighborhoods depends on it.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on June 11, 2018

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