When protests go from peaceful to illegal

City must come up with enforcement strategy to address specific behaviors and traffic issues

Statement of Alderwoman Nikiya Dodd

July 27, 2020

Since the protests began following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police, some protests in Milwaukee have visited the homes of Mayor Barrett and other officials and appointees.

These were early protests that brought the messaging against police misconduct and injustices directly to the intended ‘targets,’ and were peaceful in nature.

Today, however, we are seeing targeted protests near the private home of Police Chief Alfonso Morales (in the 5th Aldermanic District) that have taken on a lawless and nuisance identity. Powered by caravanning and marching, these protests illegally block and clog up residential streets while some participants gather to chant and yell. The illegal traffic activity means residents cannot drive in or out of their driveways (or enter or leave the cul de sac), and God forbid if a fire truck or emergency vehicle would need to respond to that block or area.

In some cases, participants are openly smoking marijuana and grilling food in the street!

Exercising one’s First Amendment right is protected and critical, but do protests featuring illegal activities trump the quiet enjoyment of one’s home and neighborhood? Are loitering and illegal drug use while illegally clogging up a residential street now just things Milwaukee citizens will need to get used to?

In my view – and I know a huge number of contacts who agree with me – peaceful protests are much more effective and successful than illegal activities happening in mass gatherings!

I believe these residential ‘targeted protests’ are – in some cases – illegal nuisance events or activities that must be addressed by the city to preserve public safety and health.

I implore Mayor Barrett to work with the City Attorney to find a legal remedy to address these caravan-centered protests that are creating a publichazard in neighborhoods with nuisances and illegal activities.

The law-abiding residents of Milwaukee deserve a remedy and they deserve action immediately.