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Author: Wisconsin Public Radio

Common Council unanimously approves mandatory mask ordinance for Milwaukee starting July 16

The Milwaukee Common Council unanimously approved a mandatory mask ordinance on July 13 for public spaces in the city as health officials continue to try to slow the spread of new coronavirus cases in Wisconsin. It is set to go into effect starting July 16, pending final approval from the mayor. In a separate unanimous vote, the council also voted to give all city residents a mask, free of charge, upon request. Masks will likely be distributed at fire and police stations, libraries, and other city and county buildings. Under the ordinance, anyone 3 and older would have to...

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Milwaukee police officer under investigation for alleged off-duty assault of two photographers

The Milwaukee Police Department is investigating an alleged assault of two photographers documenting protests on July 5 by an off-duty Milwaukee officer. One of the photographers, LaTasha Lux, declined to be interviewed but in a series of Facebook posts said she was confronted by the officer and his female companion outside a bar at State Street and North Old World Third Street. “What I do is I take pictures, so I took pictures, and the guy in that group did not appreciate that, and after taking a swipe after one other photographer and breaking the lens on his camera,...

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MKE Cares: City-wide ordinance would enforce mandatory mask policy in public spaces

Milwaukee could become the first city in Wisconsin to enforce a mandatory mask policy. Common Council members began discussing an ordinance that could require people to wear masks in public places, and in many situations, outdoors to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Wisconsin is one of only three states that does not have a mask policy. Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said she would like to have an ordinance in place before the Common Council is on its August recess. “I want to make sure we are salvaging some of the gains that we have been able...

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Petition seeks termination of UW-Milwaukee Lecturer over social media remarks on Vanessa Guillen’s death

Thousands in Milwaukee are calling for the firing of a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee lecturer and former Wisconsin Air Guard Lt. Colonel following alleged comments on social media about the death of U.S. Army soldier Vanessa Guillen. The Federal Bureau of Investigation filed a criminal complaint this week alleging that Guillen had been killed by fellow soldier 20-year-old Aaron David Robinson. Guillen was last seen at Fort Hood in Texas and had been missing for months, but her family believes Guillen’s remains were recovered last week. Screenshots show UW-Milwaukee lecturer Betsy Schoeller made comments on Facebook about Guillen’s death. The...

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Police staffing levels remain flat even as Wisconsin law enforcement budgets skyrocket 60% in 30 years

Local government spending on law enforcement in Wisconsin has, when adjusted for inflation, increased by about 60 percent since 1986, according to a report from a public policy think tank. The report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum reviewed decades of government budget data released by the state Department of Revenue. It found Wisconsin cities’ and towns’ spending on law enforcement has risen faster than inflation and is taking up an increasingly large share of their budgets. The analysis comes as protesters and activists across Wisconsin are calling for cuts to government spending on police departments amid a national conversation...

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Wisconsin considers a package of legislation on police reforms that include use of force standards

Governor Tony Evers and Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes announced a package of nine bills on June 19 targeting accountability and transparency among police in Wisconsin. The legislative package includes proposals that bar the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants, as well as require annual training on de-escalation techniques. The package also includes bills that would establish statewide standards on use of force and require potential officer candidates to allow their previous employer to disclose their work history. State Representative David Bowen, a member of the Legislature’s Black Legislative Caucus, said they have requested the governor call a special session...

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