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Police shooting shows need for community healing in Milwaukee

Posted: 5:27 PM, Jul 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-26 22:27:25Z

Morgan Olson, 23, brought a bouquet of red roses to place on the squad car draped in black outside Milwaukee’s Police Administration Building.

The growing memorial is for officer Michael Michalski, who was shot and killed, while doing his job Wednesday night.

“I was on my lunch break, and wanted to do something,” Olson said. “The cops do what they can to protect us. My boyfriend wants to be a cop, and I just feel awful when I hear about things like this. It sounds like Officer Michalski was a really good man. I want his family to know we all appreciate his sacrifice.”

That feeling is shared across the city. 

“An officer was killed,” said Jacqueline Ivory, who lives just steps from where Officer Michalski was shot, near 28th and Wright. “We need to get to the bottom of this. He’s a person. It doesn’t matter what color we are. We’re all people.”

She’s frustrated with the drugs and guns in her neighborhood.

“These people falling into bad things need jobs,” she said. “These kids need resources. We all need to respect and care for each other.”

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett reiterated that message when he addressed the media Thursday.

“One of the ways we can help the city heal from this is to say thank you to our police officers,” Barrett said. “Show them respect.”

But respect and gratitude for police, is not what many in the inner-city feel, says retired police officer Malcolm Hunt, who is now a preacher and community activist. 

Hunt went to 28th and Wright as soon as he heard an officer was shot there Wednesday night.  

“A young man came up to me and said he knew the man who shot the officer,” Hunt said. “He told me ‘the police department has been harassing us, and we’re sick of it.’ His exact words were: ‘this shooting is just the beginning.’ That makes me very nervous. He said ‘now the police feel how we’ve felt for so long, losing a loved one to violence.”

Hunt says something has to change before things get worse.

“The police aren’t killing us, we are killing each other,” he said. “Until we address that, nothing is going to change. Community leaders, churches, and the police department need to sit down and have a serious talk about how we are going to address the violence that’s plaguing this city.”