24/48 Campaign Win - FPC passes video release footage

24/48 Campaign Win - FPC passes video release footage

After two years of fighting for a policy that guarantees the public release of police camera footage after critical incidents, a policy has finally been put in place on April 20, 2023. It will go into effect starting May 1, 2023. This policy requires MPD to release video footage of any critical incidents to the victim’s next of kin within 48 hours and to the public within 15 days. The Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and families who have lost loved ones to police crimes have demanded the 48-hour public release of footage and 24-hour release of the names of police officers involved. While this policy does not fully meet those demands, we are in full support of this massive step forward towards police transparency and accountability in Milwaukee.

This demand first came about after working with the family of Roberto Zielinski, who was killed on Memorial Day of 2021. The footage in that case was released far too long after the incident and was heavily redacted. We heard similar feedback from other families who have lost loved ones to MPD. Since then, we’ve worked tirelessly for more transparency.

It’s important to note that this policy was not passed out of the good will of the Fire and Police Commission or the MPD. The FPC, as well as police departments in the surrounding Milwaukee area, have primarily served as roadblocks to change. The FPC wasted months of time going over the same tired and unsubstantiated points being brought up by the police departments.

There is no reason for this policy to have taken two years to pass. We’ve witnessed many police killings since then, with families being left in the dark. There is no reason why dozens of people should have to show up to countless FPC meetings to get a common sense policy passed. Justice delayed is justice denied, and there were several delays in the FPC. This process has eroded the public’s faith in the FPC. It’s worth mentioning that commissioners Avalos and Spencer were helpful in moving things forward.

There is great importance in understanding that this policy was passed because of the pressure put on the FPC by organizations like MAARPR and the families of those impacted by police violence. This is a community victory and not the FPC’s. From endless canvassing, meetings, rallies and call ins, we’ve come out with a victory for victims of police crimes. Families will no longer have to suffer for months or years without closure as to what happened to their loved ones when the police murder.