MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee community leaders are reacting to the George Floyd case out of Minneapolis.
Longtime Community Activist Dr. Howard Fuller says the video reminds him of a Milwaukee case from 1981. Earnest Lacy, a young black man, died in police custody that year. Fuller said, “they essentially used the same chokehold that they used on Mr. Floyd. They put the knee on his neck and Earnest Lacy died…. It’s 40 years later and it’s like seeing the same thing over and over again.”
Lacy was stopped by police because he fit the description of another suspect they were looking for in the area.
Fuller has been watching the events unfold in Minneapolis.
“I’m not supportive of people going out looting or anything like that or causing damage, but I understand it. I understand the rage that is there. So it isn’t just this particular case, it is that this continues to happen over and over again” Fuller said.
He said he is proud that people across the country are getting involved to push change.
“What I'm proud of, is that people are standing up and not seeing it as that’s just something that happened in Minneapolis. No, that’s something that happened to a black human being and it’s happened over and over and over again.”
Milwaukee Sheriff Earnell Lucas remembers the Lacy case and the similarities to the George Floyd case as well. Lucas said the video of Floyd’s death was disappointing.
“It was something that I hadn’t seen in my 44 years in law enforcement It’s not what we train, it’s not the high standard that we set for ourselves in law enforcement” says Lucas.
As Sheriff, Lucas knows that an incident like this can turn back any gains in community-law enforcement relations that may have been made over the years. He uses the metaphor of a bank account to explain.
“Thousands of deposits are made into that account daily by police officers all across this country. But just one example like what we witnessed there in Minneapolis is a withdrawal, that just really sets all of us back in this profession.”