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Schimel: Dial Back The Hateful Rhetoric

State Attorney General Says Avoid Rushing To Judgment Over Deadly Shootings

Andy Manis/ AP Photo

Deadly shootings this week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Falcon Heights, Minnesota and Dallas are prompting calls for an end to violence. People need to dial back the hateful rhetoric, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said Friday.

Schimel said he doesn’t know what more could have been done to prevent the ambush on Dallas police that ended with five officers dead and several more injured on Thursday night. People are upset over the mistakes of a few and the time it takes to conduct a thorough investigation of officer-involved shootings, he said.

“People will make mistakes because we’re human beings, and they’ll make a bad judgment call. That’s not a basis to indict an entire profession,” Schimel said. “Ninety-nine point nine percent of the law enforcement officers act honorably every single day before they go to work.”

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People need to wait for all the facts and avoid painting people with the same brush whether they’re with law enforcement or communities of color, Schimel said. Many people of color that he’s met living in the Milwaukee area where violence often occurs aren’t resorting to violent acts, he said.

One way to prevent violence is to create “real career opportunities” for people to be able to support their families, Schimel said.

“In inner cities in America, we’ve got to start creating greater opportunity and greater hope for people,” he said. “That I have learned from the people I have met within inner city communities here in Wisconsin, that this is a huge part of the problem is just hopelessness because they don’t feel that they’re going to be able to create a better life for their children than they had. That’s the American dream we all aspire to.”

It’s time for elected officials to stand against police killings and police brutality, said Kym Young of Superior’s African Heritage Community. She believes the shootings are directly tied to political rhetoric toward minority groups.

“We’re demanding our elected officials make a stand against this hate — make a stand against racism,” she said. “At this point, we the people of color are saying to our white allies it’s no longer a question of you being allies. We need you to be accomplices in changing the face of hatred and racism in our country.”

The Justice City Coalition in the Twin Ports is calling on cities and towns to hold a vigil and protest at their local city hall next Friday at 7 p.m. to stand in solidarity with people of color.