By Karen Stokes
At a brief news conference on Monday, Sheriff David Clarke updated information on the shooting which occurred at Milwaukee’s Lakefront.
“On Sunday, June 11th at 7:41pm, in the area of Lincoln Memorial Drive and east Water Tower Road, a deputy from the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office used deadly force toward a vehicle being pursued by a different Milwaukee County Deputy for a traffic infraction,” said Clarke.
Milwaukee County Deputy Inspector, Tobie Weberg explained, a deputy that was on foot patrol observed the vehicle making a traffic violation, failure to obey a sign exiting the North Point parking lot and traveled southbound on Lincoln Memorial Drive attempted to initiate a traffic stop. The suspect immediately fled.
A cellphone video from a witness shows William’s vehicle driving up a curb with a sheriff’s vehicle following. An officer appears with a gun drawn and fired shots were heard.
The driver who was identified as Terry Williams 19, was shot in the head by deputy, Michael Truax, 32. Williams, was on life support but was pronounced dead Tuesday at Froedtert Hospital.
A passenger, Paula McEwen 23, suffered non-life-threatening injuries when shot in the hand and shoulder.
Authorities recovered a 9mm handgun from the vehicle driven by Williams. Clarke mentioned that Williams has an arrest record.
Truax who was on foot patrol on Sunday is presently on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
“This is our policy,” Clarke explained.
The shooting is being investigated by the Waukesha County Sheriff’s office. The State of Wisconsin law requires officer involved deaths to be investigated by an outside agency. The investigation is ongoing and information is still being gathered.
After the shooting, crowds gathered near the scene of the shooting at the Lakefront asking questions and taking cellphone video, but the crowd was peaceful.
Even today there are still many questions concerning the shooting on Sunday evening. Many debate if the officer involved decision to shoot into a moving vehicle in a crowded public place was the best decision and others ask why didn’t Williams just pullover. But mostly the community is trying to make sense of another Black man killed by police.
An observer who chose to remain anonymous believed that Williams made a dangerous choice. “If he just would have stopped, he would have probably just went to jail and would still be with us today.”
Nasheka Bryant, founder of the Freedom Fighters referenced a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on how a professor at the University of South Carolina believed shooting at a moving vehicle was dangerous and could create a greater risk to the public. Bryant was concerned more innocent people could have been seriously hurt.
On Monday night, a group of about 50 gathered at the Northpoint Custard area for a gathering organized by Uplifting Black Liberation And Community (UBLAC). According to a post on social media, the UBLAC asked young people who were at the lake at the time of the shooting to meet with community organizers, not to blame or finger point but to show support for the Black community.
Community activist, Tory Lowe, was asked by the family of Williams to help with organizing community gatherings.
“Black people need to start being treated as human beings. Whether it’s a Black person or a white person, we have to start treating Black people as humans and then we can start some reconciliation,” said Lowe. “We have been treated like this even amongst our own community.”
Supporters of Williams gathered Tuesday evening at the Milwaukee County Criminal Justice Facility and on Wednesday evening about 70 people marched and protested for justice in the rain on the corner of Lincoln Memorial Drive and E Water Road. Although there was a brief situation where protesters came face-to-face with law enforcement showing their concerns, hurt and anger at the officers, the gathering was peaceful and ended with a moment of silence for Williams.
“We have to push forward for those same ideas that were from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s where we stood together as a community,” Lowe said. “We had unity, we had neighborhood development, and economics. We have to get back to what we invented, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”