A number of responsible individuals have questioned the interaction between Michael Brown and a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. At the same time, there have also been a number of public figures and public figure want-to-be's who have tried to exploit the unfortunate situation for their own purposes.
Shame on them.
And shame on two members of the Milwaukee Common Council: Milele Coggs and Russell Stamper II.
Over the last couple of days, a relative handful of protesters have been trying to call attention to the death of Dontre Hamilton. Hamilton is, of course, the mentally ill man who was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer during a struggle in Red Arrow Park last April.
Pursuant to State law, the Hamilton shooting has been the subject of an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice. That investigation has been completed and is currently being reviewed by the Milwaukee County DA's Office.
In an apparent effort to fan racial fires in Milwaukee, both Coggs and Stamper declared that Michael Brown had been "murdered". Stamper, going one step further, declared that both Brown and Hamilton had been murdered.
Really? Based on what? Have either Coggs or Stamper heard the testimony of witnesses or reviewed the evidence that authorities are considering?
More importantly, what purpose do irresponsible comments like this serve? Does Stamper want to try to increase attendance at these rallies by angering people? Is he hoping to exploit these unfortunate situations to raise his own profile? Has he no sense of either shame or responsibility?
While I'm at it, wouldn't it be refreshing to see Coggs and Stamper regularly denounce the much larger problem of violence in the community - namely young black men shooting other young black men.
It may well be that the police officers in both shooting deaths deserve to be charged. On the other hand, the evidence may also lead to a different conclusion.Regardless, irresponsible comments by know-nothing politicians do nothing to move the decision along.
During the 12 p.m. hour of Tuesday's radio show, we'll discuss whether the recent demonstrations (and comments) are helpful or counter-productive?
Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section - and be sure to check back later to hear a replay of the segment.