By Dylan Deprey
Vaun Mayes, Program the Park founder and activist, returned to Sherman Park ready to work following a weeklong hold in Kenosha County Jail on Federal charges of allegedly planning to firebomb the Milwaukee Police Department District 7 building following the Sherman Park civil unrest in August 2016.
The Federal Government moved to detain him over the course of the trial because they considered him a threat to the community, due to the violent nature of the acts, as well as his connection with the youth in the community.
The judge sided in Mayes favor on the initial hearing on July 5, but the Government appealed the ruling and Mayes had to return back to jail.
A day later, he ditched the black jumpsuit for a black Program the Parks shirt and was released following the appeals hearing.
Piecing the Park back together
Sherman Park saw an uptick in issues at the Park while Mayes was detained and Program the Parks, ITAV and WeAllWeGot were put on hold, according to residents posting on Mayes Facebook page. The park also saw a heavier police presence, which was similar to what was seen after the unrest back in 2016.
Mayes went in to full first community responder during a livestream while checking on a shooting situation near Sherman Park on July 15.
“When we got the call, we didn’t know if it was any of our young people or not,” Mayes said as he assessed the situation. None of the local youth were hit, but a person leaving the park was struck and sustained non-fatal gun injury and was transported to a local hospital.
Mayes pleaded with followers who may have been interesting in either teaching or participating in being Community First Responders.
“We just need more people out here, who have the mindset and the skills to monitor our own situations, so we don’t have to wait for law enforcement and paramedics,” Mayes said. “Life is precious and every second that we can save by offering our service then we need that.”
Arraignment and Plea Trial
Following a slight reschedule, Mayes showed up to his plea trial accompanied by Atty. Robert LeBell in front of Judge Duffin, the same judge from the first detention hearing, on July 18. The court room was nearly empty as the it was a quick hearing to simply state his plea.
The Government read the five charges: Attempted arson, conspiracy to commit arson, felony possession of a firearm, unlawful transport of firearm and making a firearm.
Mayes plead not guilty to the charges and will return for a scheduling conference on August 2nd.
To view the previous story visit: Community Packs Court Room: Vaun Mayes, Community Activist, charged in firebomb plot, released