Black Lives Matter Protests Continue Monday After Thousands March Over Weekend

Milwaukee Protesters Head Toward Red Arrow Park, Madison Organizers Push For Action From School Board

Thousands gathered on the lawn of the Capitol Square after a march honoring George Floyd ended in Madison on Sunday, June 7.
An estimated 10,000 people gathered on the lawn of the Capitol Square after a march honoring George Floyd ended in Madison on Sunday, June 7. Laurel White/WPR

Protests are again springing up in Milwaukee and Madison on Monday, marking an 11th straight day of demonstrations decrying racism and police violence after George Floyd, a black man, died in police custody in Minneapolis last month.

The day’s events follow a weekend in which tens of thousands of people, from prominent black leaders to professional basketball players to local activists, marched in communities across the state, signaling no slowdown to the stretch of protesting.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

In Milwaukee, one march kicked off in Cathedral Square at 3 p.m.

One of its organizers, Indalecio De Jesus Valentin, said that the protest was calling for four critical changes from the city: a third-party position created to investigate incidents of unjust police activity, mandatory psychiatric evaluations of police officers, Common Council hearings in which citizens could present evidence of police misconduct, and for officers to actually live in inner-city neighborhoods that they patrol.

“We have seen and heard far too many white cops come from privileged backgrounds refer to inner city citizens as ‘a threat’ and ‘ghetto,’ because of the ethnic background and different upbringing that these officers have had,” said Valentin.

Robert Hampton, an attorney with the State Public Defender’s Office, attended the protest. He said in his work, he’s seen racial disparities in how people arrested on drug charges and gun-related cases are treated.

“We’re in a position of people that are actually in the system,” Hampton said. “We’re on the front lines of that battle, fighting for people who are disadvantaged, the ones who are unfortunately dealing with the police on a day-to-day basis.”

Also in Milwaukee, protesters planned to march nearly four miles from Sherman Park on the city’s northwest side, to Red Arrow Park downtown. That park was the site of the fatal shooting of Dontre Hamilton, a black man, by a white police officer in 2014.

Among those marching are organizers of a “Reclaim the 414” petition calling for the city to divest from its police department. They organized a gathering at Sherman Park prior to that march’s start.

Another march had also been planned in the afternoon, one at 2 p.m. on the city’s northwest side, and another at 3 p.m. downtown at Cathedral Square Park. A Black Lives Matter vigil has been announced for 8 p.m. outside a Milwaukee Police Department station downtown.

In Madison, a group of public defenders gathered for a rally at 2 p.m. outside of the city Police Department’s downtown headquarters.

Another demonstration got underway around 8 p.m. Monday night near the Capitol Square, which has become a nightly hub of activity for protesters. The event, organized by Impact Demand, a youth-led group, took the form of a block party with protesters grilling and congregating around the Madison Municipal Building. Around 9 p.m., there were several hundred protesters present, many of them young people, chanting and lining up to sign letters to Gov. Tony Evers and other elected officials.

Some were also painting “Defund Police M4BL” (short for movement for black lives) in large yellow letters on the surface of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, one of the streets leading up to the Capitol.

Members of Impact Demand said they were calling for specific policy changes, including community control of police, limits on police use of so-called “no-knock” warrants, where officers enter properties without notifying residents, and new policies for firing police officers who are responsible for the death of someone who was handcuffed or otherwise incapacitated.

Protesters have also organized a campaign to reach out to members of the city’s school board before they hold a virtual closed-session meeting at 5 p.m. Protesters confronted Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education President Gloria Reyes last week, primarily making the demand that police officers to be removed from public schools.

A protest had also been scheduled for the morning in Oconomowoc.

Editor’s Note: Erik Lorenzsonn, Madeline Fox, Shawn Johnson, Rachael Vasquez and John K. Wilson contributed reporting to this story.