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Friday
Oct052012

Milwaukee Police Investigate Themselves: No Procedures Violated. Black Woman and Murdered Son on the Wrong Team. After White Man Murdered 13 yr old, Mother Detained, House Searched  

From [HERE] and [HERE]  The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission has concluded that Milwaukee's Police Department didn't violate any rules, procedures or policies during the homicide investigation of 13-year-old Darius Simmons. The commission released a 10-page report on Friday following community concerns surrounding the investigation.

Simmons, a black 13 year old, was allegedly murdered by his white neighbor, 75-year-old John Spooner, in front of his mother in the front of her home at 1905 W. Arrow Street at 9:48 a.m. on May 31. Apparently, because the white man accused the boy of theft in order to justify the murder, the MPD went on a baseless search of her house, locked up her other son and detained her in a police car. 

Simmons’ mother claims she was detained in the back of a squad car for several hours. Police forced her to sit in a squad car rather than let her hold her dying son or join him at the hospital. Officers also rifled through her home looking for stolen firearms, and arrested another of her sons on a year-old truancy violation -in the immediate aftermath of the murder. Nothing unlawful was found in her home from the illegal police search.

According to the criminal complaint, Simmons was retrieving the garbage from the curb when Spooner walked up to him and confronted him. Spooner, who claims to be a victim of multiple burglaries, accused the teen of being the culprit of at least one of the burglaries.

Spooner asked Simmons for his belongings back, including two shotguns. Simmons denied having anything to do with Spooners’ stolen property. Simmons’ mother Patricia Larry told police that she also told Spooner they had nothing to do with his stolen property. The criminal complaint says that’s when Spooner pulled out his gun and fired two shots at Simmons' chest, as his mother watched. When police arrived Spooner said, “Yeah I shot him.” [MORE] Simmons was unarmed and posing no threat to Spooner.

Because Spooner alleged that shotguns had been stolen from his house, Police chief Ed Flynn (in photo) claimed that the police were obligated to search Simmons' home to confirm or deny his claims. Really? Do you think that a Black man arrested for the murder of a white 13 year old could compel the police to violate the 4th Amendment rights of a white parent (arrest her & search her home) because of some uncorroborated claim by the accused that his property had been taken on some prior occasion? Upon what legal basis did police detain Ms. Simmons?; there was no suspicion that she was involved in the incident, no basis to believe that she would destroy evidence and there was no basis to believe that her son had committed any offense or had been involved in a physical confrontation with Spooner, the accused.

Upon what legal basis did police search her home? There was no corroboration of Spooners' self serving claims - no reason to believe weapons were in the house. Even if there was a reasonable basis, the 4th Amendment requires the police to get a warrant to search the house unless there was an emergency. There were no exigent circumstances present and any alleged stolen property could not serve as a defense of self-defense to murder. The shooting did not occur inside Spooner's house during the commission of a robbery - it happened outside the teen's home while he was taking out the trash. And Spooner confessed to the police that he shot him, unprovoked. 

Simple and plain - this is white privilege and the practice of white supremacy/racism. Here, white police officers have reviewed their own racist actions to violate the rights of a Black woman in support of a self-serving accusation of a white man who had confessed to the murder of a Black child. White journalists are either ignoring this news story or coverage of it tends to support the police actions - in so doing they are also practicing white supremacy/racism.

If all the white actors in the story were non-white and vice-versa, woud there be a similar result? Hopefully, there will be a massive civil suit against the Milwaukee Police for the white supremacist drama they created. Undoubtedly, these police actions have led to the mental torture and stress of this Black woman. Expectations for justice should be low in Spooner's criminal case, as the prosecutors are also on the "white team." Let us see whether they 'opt in.' Until the operating system of white supremacy is eliminated there can no justice or democracy - bw. 

The Police chef denied criticism that officers had left Simmons' home in disarray. "We didn't rifle through drawers or go through purses," the police chief said. "We only looked in the likely places where they could be." [MORE

Community members raised four issues in Milwaukee police's subsequent investigation: The interview of Ms. Larry (Simmons' mother); The search of Ms. Larry's residence; The arrest and detention of Darius Simmons' brother; The disposition of Mr. Spooner's personal property and search of his residence.

Ms. Larry was kept at the crime scene for an hour and a half while her son was dying at the hospital.  She was unable to see her son before he died.

According to the report, "There were no rules, policies, or procedures that were violated by members of MPD as it pertains to the four areas of community concern reviewed in this report."

The report suggested that MPD should review the methods in which investigative personnel are allocated to the scene of an active homicide investigation.

Additionally, "MPD should evaluate establishing a Standard Operating Instruction (SOI) for
homicide investigations."

Finally, "MPD should review and significantly expand the existing training regimen pertaining to cultural awareness and general interpersonal communication."

Milwaukee police released a statement following the report, saying:

"The Milwaukee Police Department hears the community's concerns over the procedures used during the investigation of the homicide of Darius Simmons. We recognize that sometimes professional duty can appear to trump compassion, and that even though investigators were doing justice to the victim, they were not as attentive to the needs of Darius' mother as they could have been. Police officers and detectives are proud to protect an extraordinarily diverse city. Our homicide detectives have an unmatched record of success in solving the murders of victims from every segment of our community. The members of the Milwaukee Police department remain committed to excellence and to continual improvement and accept the findings of the Fire and Police Commission in that spirit."

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