The Black reporters were not ready for police chief Edward Flynn’s response when asked why he was being disprespectful by being on his phone during a meeting.
In this historic video clip from a few years ago, the meeting centered around the unjust shooting of a schizophrenic Dontre Hamilton by a white Milwaukee police officer who was later fired but not charged. (see the bottom video of the story of Dontre below). This situation led to Milwaukee police having to wear body cams.
After a meeting with community leaders and black residents to try to resolve the lack of communication with the police department, the police chief took questions. He stated there was a lot of confusion, yelling, and agenda bating while he tried to answer the community’s questions and indicated that he was overwhelmed.
During the meeting, he was using his phone to text message and people in the meeting thought that was disrespectful. After the meeting, he was approached by a group of black reporters who questioned his sincerity since he was on the phone texting during the meeting.
The Story behind White Police Chief on his Response for Being on his Phone During Community Meeting
According to Black reporters, it was rude for Officer Chief Edward Flynn to be on his phone during a community meeting. The whole issue brought about a series of mixed reactions, especially from the black American community, since the meeting resulted from police brutality that led to the death of a person.
Even though Officer Flynn had fired the officer involved in the incident, the black journalist felt that Officer Flynn using the phone during the meeting was inappropriate. After the journalist interviewed him, his response spurred many emotions since he said that the police department was not entirely to be blamed for all the impunities and that people should also look at their community. He was only frustrated and gave a speech without thinking about it carefully.
On the date 6 November 2014, people gathered at the fire and police commission meeting held at the Washington Park Senior Centre. The meeting resulted from the shooting of Hamilton and police brutality, especially in the black community.
Before the meeting, Officer Flynn had fired the officer involved in the fatal shooting incident of Dontre Hamilton in Red Arrow Park. The officer involved in the deadly shooting Christopher Manney, had appealed his firing to the board. The board has the final say in cases of police injustice and such crucial matters.
The meeting had quite a handful of people. The supporters of Manney and those of Hamilton’s family were present. Manney’s supporters sat on the side of the auditorium and wore black shirts with a blue line written: “We stand together.”
The supporters of Hamilton’s family and the coalition for justice sat on the other side, holding signs that read: “Can Dontre appeal.” Hamilton’s family supporters had been protesting against Hamilton’s death and other police shootings of black men at the time.
Officer Flynn and the board were sitting at the front of the board room. This was when he was spotted using the phone as the meeting was going on.
He glanced at his cellphone severally, and according to the journalist, this act depicted disrespect and showed that Flynn was uninterested in the concerns and comments of the people. The reporter got an email from a fellow reporter that a five-year-old girl had been shot.
He wrote the question on a notepad and walked over to Lt. Mark Stanmeyer, the department’s spokesman. The department’s spokesman pulled out his phone and started to look for texts and emails with this information.
The people thought it was as if they were talking and shouting into a void as Flynn stared at his phone. After the meeting, reporters asked Officer Flynn about the use of his phone during the session. Flynn let out an emotional speech conveying his frustrations with the dialogue. In his statement, he did not deny using his phone in the meeting but went on to defend himself.
He claimed that he was looking into the five-year-old girl who was killed sitting on her grandfather’s lap. Later on, he said that as much as people were working to fix the police department, they should also look at themselves and how they live in the community.
According to him, most of the homicide cases he had solved did not come from police but the people. The black American community was working to fix the police department, but they also needed to better their community. He claimed that numerous deaths were caused by the people accusing the police, who are at the forefront of ensuring their safety and protection.
After the interview with Flynn, the video was posted the same day. The video took off in a way that no one would expect. In the months and years that followed, the video continued to dominate the headlines. The video with 7.8 million views on YouTube stirred different reactions in people.
On the other hand, the board remained silent on the issue since a general rule does not respond directly to public comment. On the other hand, Manney lost his appeal on his firing, and the coalition for justice and the Hamilton family continued to push for better accountability of the police department.
After all this, the perpetrators involved in Layla’s death, the five-year-old girl, were arrested. Despite the controversial interview, Officer Flynn was a celebrated police officer who looked into the needs of his colleagues and the people at large. Over the years, he has faced criticism and often receives threats and criticism from people all over. This has not stopped him from being a trustworthy and honest police officer. He is also very responsible, having been raised by an alcoholic father.
This prompted him to become the responsible man he is today. He was also brought under the catholic doctrines since he studies in catholic schools and this, according to him, helped shape up the man he is today. In as much as there are controversies about him, we can acknowledge that Officer Flynn is a man working towards justice despite all this.