- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Dozens of demonstrators remained jailed Saturday, of more than 70 arrested after marching onto Interstate 43 and blocking traffic to protest the death of a black man who was shot by Milwaukee police in April, authorities said.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office had said late Friday that 73 adults and one juvenile were arrested after hundreds of protesters blocked traffic for about 75 minutes during rush hour, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported (https://bit.ly/1ACpm7S ).

Dozens of protesters were still being processed by authorities Saturday afternoon, and about 60 people were gathered in front of the Milwaukee County Jail, waiting for their release.

Authorities had strong words for protesters on Saturday. Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn called the highway disruption “a clear breach of trust that had a direct, dramatic and negative impact on the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of Milwaukeeans.”

Flynn said if protesters are willing to “go on an established route that we can safely manage, we’ll do that. But if they insist on breaking the law, and going into streets unanticipated causing a safety hazard, we’ll make arrests. We can’t guess anymore what they’re going to do.”

Jennifer Epps Addison, from Wisconsin Jobs Now, said protesters faced around $40,000 in tickets and bail.

“The actions of the sheriff’s (authorities) and MPD were atrocious and outrageous,” she said.

The protesters called for charges against Officer Christopher Manney, who shot 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton 14 times after a struggle in a downtown park in April. Manney later was fired for not following proper procedure, and he has appealed his firing.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm is considering whether to charge Manney. Jonathan Safran, an attorney for the Hamiltons, said he expects a decision “very soon.”

Safran said he personally doesn’t approve of protesters blocking freeway traffic. He said the family can’t control other groups of protesters, but they have tried to advise others not to do anything violent.

“Everybody, I believe, and certainly we as the attorneys, want everyone to be peaceful,” he said. “There’s some civil disobedience. I don’t approve of anybody being out on the highways, that’s just too dangerous.”

Hamilton’s brother, Nathaniel, said what happened on the freeway wasn’t part of the plan.

He said a peaceful approach is necessary to create “a big change” in the city.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said Saturday that it was important to get the protesters off the freeway because a traffic jam could have prevented medical emergency vehicles from getting those in need. It also was important to keep the freeway open because people are trying to get to the airport in time for holiday travel.


Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, https://www.jsonline.com

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