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November 20th, 2014
06:12 PM ET

Milwaukee police chief calls out protesters

(CNN) – The shooting death of an unarmed African American teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, by a white police officer exposed a deeply rooted mistrust of police among many minorities not just in Ferguson but nationwide.

Ferguson became a symbol for the frustrations playing out in towns and cities across America, including Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Officer Christopher Manney shot a mentally ill African American man 14 times, killing him, during a confrontation back in April.

The officer says he opened fire when Dontre Hamilton grabbed his baton and started hitting him with it. Manney was fired for not following protocols, but he was never charged, sparking backlash against the department.

Tensions boiled over earlier this month at a public meeting on the case, where protesters lashed out at the police chief, accusing him of checking his phone while they voiced their concerns.

After the meeting the chief was asked about his actions, and his emotional response has now gone viral.

"I was following developments of a 5-year-old little girl who was sitting on her dad’s lap and just got shot in the head by a drive by shooting and if some of the people here gave a good god damn about the victimization of people in his community by crime, I’d take some of their invective more seriously," Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn told reporters.

"80% of my homicide victims every year are African American. 80% of our aggravated assault victims are African American. 80% of our shooting victims who survive their shootings are African American. Now they know all about the last three people killed by the Milwaukee Police Department over the course of the last several years. There's not one of them can name one of the last three homicide victims we've had in this city," Flynn said.

"Now I’m leaving here to go to that scene. And I take it personally, ok?" he said.

While circumstances surrounding the police shooting in Milwaukee are different from what happened in Ferguson, the sentiments expressed by Flynn are similar to what has come from law enforcement officials in Ferguson and neighboring St. Louis.

Any parent who loses a child, whether at the hands of a police officer or a criminal, wants justice and answers, says Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing Michael Brown's family.

"We expect the police, we expect the prosecutors to be professional, and do their job, and hold anybody accountable, whether that's a criminal or police officer who illegally kills another human being," said Crump.

"You don't just look at stuff as black-on-black crime, or white-on-white crime. Because when you have people go in theaters and have mass shootings, or go in classrooms and kill little children, nobody says, oh that's white-on-white crime," he said.

The ongoing conversations happening in Ferguson, and now Milwaukee, between police chiefs, politicians, activists, and victims' families are necessary, and need to continue, said the lawyer.

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