Black Panthers call for new trial for police officer accused of unlawful shooting

The Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee marched to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office on Thursday.

They called for a Brown Deer Police officer accused of unlawfully shooting a man during an arrest in March, 2016 to be re-tried. 

Police Officer Devon Kraemer’s trial ended with a hung jury Wednesday afternoon

Judge Christopher Dee declared a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict. 

Kraemer was charged with Aggravated Battery With Intent to Cause Great Bodily Harm, Use of a Dangerous Weapon. The jury heard two weeks of testimony before it deliberated for roughly 16 hours over three days. 

On Thursday, two members of the Black Panthers met with District Attorney John Chisholm behind closed doors for approximately 15 minutes. 

King Rick, the Leader of the Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee, said the group is demanding that Kraemer be tried again and that the U.S. Department of Justice also investigate the shooting. 

"I implored upon him that they retry (Kraemer) by any means necessary," he said. 

He added he was frustrated with the lack of a verdict. 

Chisholm said Wednesday that he plans to meet with Kraemer's lawyers, the prosecutor in the case, as well as the victim and his attorney in the coming weeks before deciding if the state will attempt to try Kraemer once again. 

Kraemer and Officer Michael Leeman escorted Manuel Burnley Jr. off a bus near 60th & Brown Deer Rd. in 2016 after he’d been yelling and arguing with the driver over a transfer policy. 

Once off the bus, Leeman tripped Burnley Jr. and all three people fell to the ground in a scuffle. 

Kraemer said she feared Burnley Jr. could be armed, and testified during her trial that he was overpowering the two officers. She said that’s why she made the decision to shoot Burnley Jr. once in the back. 

Burnley Jr., who lost part of a lung in the shooting, testified during the trial and maintained he was not resisting arrest. He said he was trying to submit to the officers and get the arrest over with. 

Burnley Jr. was never charged in connection with the incident. 

Burnley Jr.’s attorney, Jonathan Safran, said his client was very upset with the lack of a verdict and wants the District Attorney to try the case again. 

Safran said a civil suit could come following a resolution to the criminal case against Kraemer. 

"We haven't made a decision on what we're going to do yet," Safran said. "We're waiting to see what comes of the criminal prosecution." 

Safran added he has been in contact with the U.S. Attorney's office, and expects federal officials to speak with the Milwaukee County District Attorney regarding the possibility of federal, civil rights charges against Kraemer.

"We're waiting to hear back from both of them as far as what their decision making is," Safran said. 

An attorney for Kraemer declined to comment Thursday, 

She remains on administrative suspension from the Brown Deer Police Department pending the District Attorney’s decision on whether to retry the case, said Police Chief Michael Kass in a statement. 

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