Two days after the one year anniversary of his murder and on the eve of the anniversary of Minneapolis’ third precinct going up in flames, the government of Wisconsin has little interest in meeting the simple demands of the people. By refusing to institute real accountability measures for police, they are spitting on the grave of George Floyd.
Last August, while rebels fought police in Kenosha following the shooting of Jacob Blake and everyone across the country was still rising up in George Floyd’s memory, republican lawmakers refused to discuss police reform – they “gavelled out” of a special session in less than a minute. Assembly speaker Robin Vos delayed action by creating a special task force on racial disparities. His caucus bickered over email about which “political loser” would have to chair the committee, eventually landing on majority leader Jim Steineke.
They recruited Sheila Stubbs (d-Madison) to be co-chair. A former community supervision officer working for the Wisconsin prison system (DOC), Stubbs fit into a role often reprised by Lena Taylor (d-Milwaukee): the token black woman who validates republican trash bills with the sheen of bipartisan compromise.
In April, the task force began releasing recommendations, which have now become a pile of bills heading toward committee votes on Thursday. Some are weak half-measures, like requiring cops to undergo psych evals or drug testing, or to file reports after conducting the kind of no-knock raid that killed Breonna Taylor. Others actually increase police funding, like crisis training, body cam grants, and school resource officers.
These bills are coming at the same time as a package of trash bills authored by former cop and current fascist senator Van Wanggaard (r-Racine) and supported by the ever-obliging senator Lena Taylor. Those include the snitch house bill, the fund the police bill, and the bill to reduce police accountability by installing former cops on fire and police commissions.
Fortunately, opposition to these bills is gaining steam in Milwaukee. Black Leaders Organizing for Community (BLOC) has called a “we need better bills” day of action for Thursday May 27. Their organizing call acknowledged that, “normally BLOC doesn’t engage much with the legislature due to its make up.” We can’t blame them for not wanting to deal with the republican death cult that controls the legislature. “But Assembly Dems are split,” they continued, “Some think that while these bills aren’t the greatest, something is better than nothing. We say, don’t feed us scraps and to start over.”
The day of action is both a public press conference at BLOC’s offices, 3500 N 26th St, and a social media storm targeting democrats. They’ve assembled a collection of powerful talking points, sample scripts, and images to share on social media. It’s got everything you need to participate in a day of reminding elected officials that George Floyd did not die in vain.