The arrest of bicyclist Brandon Scharles – called “Comrade Brandon” by a socialist group that says he’s a member – came after the bicyclist resisted arrest during an “unlawful” group that “took up the entire width of the street, blocking all traffic,” Wauwatosa police say. The 28-year-old West Allis man is being referred to the District Attorney’s office on a felony charge of resisting an officer, causing soft tissue injury. Two officers sustained minor injuries, police said. The Wauwatosa bicyclist arrest was captured on video.
In addition, according to police, municipal citations for possession of marijuana and unlawful assembly were issued to the man, whose name was not given by authorities. However, the “Party for Socialism and Liberation – Milwaukee,” stated that he was “Comrade Brandon,” adding, “Our Comrade Brandon was pulled from their bike, beaten and arrested by cops in Wauwatosa while peacefully protesting for justice for Alvin Cole.” The post referred to police as “pigs” and called “Comrade Brandon” a “brave freedom fighter.” The post then shared details of a cash app and referred to “police terror,” adding, “Free Brandon! Free all political prisoners!” It included the hashtag #AbolishThePolice.
Although police say the man resisted arrest and that they received calls from neighbors upset about the lawbreaking, that didn’t stop one area lawmaker, Jonathan Brostoff, a Democratic representing Milwaukee’s east side, from referring to police on Facebook as “sadists.” He called on people to “keep marching.” He added, “Wauwatosa Police Department is completely out of control. They are acting like sadists, deriving some sick pleasure from hurting people.”‘
The protests and riots are focusing on a black police officer who shot an armed teen who brought a gun to a mall and then pointed it at him, according to the District Attorney’s report clearing the officer. In two other shootings, the officer was also cleared after shooting people with weapons.
But police say it wasn’t just a march. They added, “We welcome protests in our community that are lawful and peaceful.” They say what occurred on Oct. 13 was not so. According to police, a protest entered Wauwatosa that was “neither lawful and peaceful” and involved a group of about 20 vehicles and 30-40 marchers parading into Wauwatosa on West Lloyd Street.
“They were honking car horns, hanging out of car windows/sun roofs, sounding air horns, loudly revving a motorcycle engine, driving a motorcycle on sidewalks, shining flashing lights into neighborhood homes, and yelling chants, many of which included profanities,” police wrote in an Oct. 14 news release.
“The behavior of this group was in violation of law, and disturbing the peace of neighborhoods,” said police, who added that they received “several calls from neighbors complaining about the group.”
Around 8 p.m., police made an announcement to the group declaring it an unlawful assembly and warning that, if the group did not disperse, arrests would be made, but the “group did not comply, and continued moving down streets in a loud, boisterous and unlawful manner.” Numerous additional warnings were given, police say, but some demonstrators “taunted officers and yelled profanities at them.”
At that point, Wauwatosa police “approached and officers moved in to effectuate the arrest, the individual resisted the officers. Officers were able to direct the individual to the ground, where he continued to resist the officers’ attempts to handcuff him. An electronic control device was deployed to gain control and compliance. Eventually the individual was secured.”
At that point, another person “who was yelling profanities at the officers while video recording was told to move back. He did not move back, and actually moved in closer to the officers while yelling aggressively. This compromised the safety of officers and others at the scene. This person only provided space for the officers when an officer pushed him back and displayed a canister of pepper spray. As the crowd began to turn on officers, police deployed smoke and pepper spray to disperse the crowd,” which then left.
“The Wauwatosa police department is committed to maintain order, peace and safety in our community. Blocking streets without permits and participating in loud, boisterous behavior is against the law,. We ask that anyone who wishes to participate in a protest or other demonstration to do so in a lawful peaceful manner,” concluded police.
WRN contributor Jessica McBride is the niece of Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride.