Per a recent state law, a third party agency must conduct the investigations of police involved shootings. Following the killing of a young man in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood by a member of the Milwaukee Police Department, the Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating the incident. This shooting lead to the rioting and property destruction in Sherman Park on August 13th and 14th, 2016. And despite the fact that both the deceased and the police officer are African American, there is a lot of angst surrounding the incident and the follow up investigation.

Wisconsin’s Attorney General Brad Schimel is in charge to the Department of Justice and therefore the chief officer in the investigation. Needless to say there is distrust between the community and the police department and a lot of concern in Milwaukee on getting this thing right. So who is handling the case on behalf of the WI DOJ? Well apparently an number of DOJ investigators who are former Milwaukee police officers. Yup, that’s the ticket to instill confidence in the community that this investigation is being carefully and thoroughly examined. And I can’t think that there wouldn’t be enough non-MPD experienced investigators to handle this…even if it required some reassignments…but wouldn’t that be the right thing to do?

Well maybe not:

Wisconsin’s attorney general acknowledged Monday that former Milwaukee police officers, now working for the state Department of Justice, are investigating the fatal shooting of a black man by a Milwaukee officer that triggered two nights of violence.

Attorney General Brad Schimel said he doesn’t see a conflict in using former Milwaukee officers in the investigation into the Aug. 13 shooting of Sylville K. Smith.

“Milwaukee PD has about 2,000 sworn officers as I understand. The likelihood that there would be some relationship between a particular patrol officer, who’s going to be much younger than an experienced detective… is small. And if there is any relationship at all, that officer, that investigator would not be permitted to have any role in the investigation,” Schimel said at a news conference in downtown Milwaukee.

He said the DOJ hires many retired officers to work for the Division of Criminal Investigation in the region that they have previously worked. An agency spokesman later said DCI has about 100 officers statewide; of 18 field agents in the Milwaukee office, eight once worked for the Milwaukee Police Department.

It may in fact be possible for former Milwaukee police officers to conduct a thorough and unbiased investigation.

But that doesn’t mean a damn thing…there are times when the appearance of possible bias is the determining factor in who performs the investigation. And in this case there shouldn’t be a single former member of MPD anywhere near this case.

WTF is AG Schimel thinking?

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