In 130 days, Milwaukee Freedom Fund volunteers have responded to 120 requests for support (tickets, bail, bonds, legal support, attorney fees & more). Here’s what we’ve learned in the last 4 months of advocating for protesters.
The most at-risk of arrest and being charged are protesters who have records, open warrants, are carrying weapons/drugs, and/or are trans or non-binary individuals. If this is you or someone in your group, be extra careful.
There are a variety of tactics used against protesters. Have a spare tire or two in your car, charge phones and have a code on your phone, write the name of an attorney and/or your contact person on your arm or body to call from jail. Record police interactions, if safe to do so. The National Guard is here (a state or county ask) Be prepared for tear gas. Be prepared to be arrested.
People are arrested all the time and most do not need bail. Many are arrested, ticketed and released. If there are a lot of arrests, like in MKE in June, this process can take hours. In Milwaukee, you can be held in jail for several days before seeing a judge to hear the charges and have bail set. If bail is over $200 and needed for protest-related charges, we will help (touchpay is easier for bails under $200). Generally, we pay bail between 8am-5pm. The best way to request help is to fill out the form, it helps us have the right information to pay bail and let a contact person know when someone will be released; and helps us keep track of the dozens of people who may need help at one time. The form is here: https://bit.ly/MFFArrestHelp.
General Info: You can find an arrested person by calling the station or searching the inmate search. The numbers for all the districts in Milwaukee are here: https://city.milwaukee.gov/police/Contact-MPD.htm. If you believe they are being detained and it has been more a couple hours, you can try looking for them here: http://www.inmatesearch.mkesheriff.org/
The Milwaukee Freedom Fund DOES NOT have the capacity to go to the stations when people are arrested. We are not lawyers; we are volunteers that will help.
And in case you forgot why people are upset. Each year in the United States, somewhere between 900 and 1,000 people are shot and killed by police. According to the Police Integrity Research Group’s data, since 2005, only 98 non federal law enforcement officers have been arrested in connection with fatal, on-duty shootings. Only 35 of these officers have been convicted of a crime, often a lesser offense. Only 3 officers have been convicted of murder during this period and seen their convictions stand. Wauwatosa Officer Mensah has killed three young men of color in five years. Our current system does NOT provide justice.
Lastly, remember who is elected & has power- hold them accountable. What can Milwaukeeans do that will have the most impact? How can we make sure that the budgets (city, county, state) represent what our priorities are and don’t reinforce this system? How can we make sure our elected are representing what we want and providing the justice we have been asking for?
District Attorney Chisholm: (414) 278-4646 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Barrett: 414-286-2200 Email: email@example.com
City Council: www.city.milwaukee.gov/CommonCouncil
County Executive Crowley: (414) 278-4212 www.county.milwaukee.gov/EN/County-Executive/Contact
Governor Evers: www.evers.wi.gov/Pages/Connect.aspx
State Representatives and State Senators: www.legis.wisconsin.gov
More protester advice: https://www.facebook.com/pg/MKEFreedomfund/photos/?tab=album&album_id=118166329929290