Outrage after police officer remains on duty after punching Black teen at mall

Police punch Milwaukee teen in the face at Mayfair Mall.

A Milwaukee County, police officer has not been taken off of normal duty after a May 11th altercation with a 17-year-old suspect in the Mayfair mall parking lot.

Friday, a video of the incident surfaced on the internet showing a white officer punching a Black teen outside the mall during an arrest. While the officer involved suffered scrapes to his knee and the mall security guard suffered some cuts to his hand, according to Wauwatosa Capt. Brian Zalewski, the teen didn’t report any injuries.

The day after the original video had been posted, the Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee called for a boycott of the mall and the firing of the police officer.

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“For too often are we being subjected to racial profiling in this mall, far too often,” King Rick, leader of The Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee, said in a video posted to his Facebook page.

“Those dynamics have to change and we’re here to demand that they change.”

Earlier that same day Lt. Jeff Farina met with the Black Panthers outside the Wauwatosa Police Department building to discuss next steps.

“I can assure you this: Investigation has been started and the command staff is aware of this incident that happened at the mall,” Farina said, according another video posted on Rick’s Facebook page.

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Wauwatosa police also issued a statement about the viral video explaining that after officers got the call requesting help with a group of five males “causing a disturbance,” they found several of the suspects in the parking lot.

That’s when the officer claims he tried to speak with them to determine what had happened, but the teens refused and began “to physically fight with the officer.”

More details revealed

Monday, The Wauwatosa Police Department released surveillance video footage showing more of the interaction that led up to the racially charged run in.

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The video shows several males running and a police car pulling up to them in the parking lot. Then it appears the officer attempts to forcefully take the teen to the ground to arrest him. It’s when the young man resists being dragged to the floor that the fight ensues.

Not quite the peaceful attempt to talk things out that that the officer originally reported.

Use of force review

King Rick told a reporter on Facebook Messenger that the new video only confirmed his viewpoint.

“The video that was released today shows how aggressive the police officer was before, during and after the brutal assault. The young man did not do anything that warranted him being brutally assaulted. The videos shows it,” he said.

He also said the Black Panthers are calling for Wauwatosa police officers to undergo diversity training, citing other incidents in the city, including the fatal police shooting of Jay Anderson Jr.

In response to the public outcry, police say they have begun a “use-of-force review” of Friday afternoon’s incident.

“Use of force reviews are a priority for the police agency and we will work diligently to have this one completed in a timely manner,” according to the police statement. “We will continue to be transparent on this issue and release additional information as it becomes available.”

While the officer remains on normal duty, the teen in question was cited for disorderly conduct, battery and resisting an officer.