Thursday, April 18, 2024
Thursday, April 18, 2024

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12 Reasons Why the Milwaukee Police Association & Voters MUST Reject Cavalier Johnson


Angering some officers, the MPA’s board has decided to stay neutral in the Milwaukee mayor’s race, even though Bob Donovan is staunchly pro-police, and Cavalier Johnson is an anti-police chameleon, who shifts positions to earn votes. Hasn’t the MPA learned that appeasement of anti-cop liberals always backfires? 

Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson has tried to dishonestly “remake” himself for the April election against Bob Donovan, pretending to be tough on public safety and supportive of police. However, less than two years ago, he was one of the leading advocates at City Hall pushing for defunding the Milwaukee Police Department so severely it would eliminate the equivalent of two police districts and the sensitive crimes unit.

He once referred to the police as an oppressive institution that caused “death” to people of color. He once advocated sending a controversial BLM leader to respond to situations with potential for violence instead of police. That BLM leader, Vaun Mayes, is on federal pretrial release on criminal charges alleging he was involved in a failed plot to firebomb a Milwaukee police district station, involving children.

On March 29, 2022, Johnson admitted to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he “hasn’t yet had time to implement the full public safety plan he proposed at the beginning of his tenure.” He said he had to spend time campaigning.

Despite all of that, angering some rank-and-file officers, the Milwaukee Police Association’s board has decided to stay neutral in the race, even though Donovan, a former alderman, is a staunchly pro-police candidate. Hasn’t the Milwaukee Police Association learned appeasement of anti-cop liberals always backfires?

Violent crime has skyrocketed under Johnson’s Common Council leadership since 2020 in Milwaukee, with two years of record homicide numbers at levels unheard of in the city’s history. Homicide this year is set to outpace even that.

In short, Johnson’s record as an alderman and Common Council president was ANTI-POLICE and ANTI-PUBLIC SAFETY. He’s tried to change the terminology, saying in 2020 that he supported “reallocating” police funds, but it all amounted to the same thing: Johnson was for defunding the police – before he began running for mayor.

We decided to examine Johnson’s record on policing because of his chameleon-like rebranding, a classic trait of progressives, for the mayoral election. We found a politician who repeatedly stressed shifting police resources, rushed to judgment in a high-profile use-of-force case, praised Black Lives Matter, and implied some police might be white supremacists.

Here are 12 reasons why the Milwaukee Police Association and voters MUST reject Cavalier Johnson in the mayor’s race.

1. Johnson Wanted to Slash the Police Department’s Budget by 10%

In June 2020, a Milwaukee Magazine article headlined “What Does ‘Defund the Police’ Mean in Milwaukee?” put the effort at the feet of Johnson, then the Common Council president. By how much did Johnson want to defund the Milwaukee police?

Milwaukee police association

“The Milwaukee Common Council passed legislation on June 15 directing the city’s budget director to decrease the police department’s budget by 10% in the 2021 city budget model,” the story noted. It said the measure was co-sponsored by Johnson and another alderman. The plan suggested reducing the force in multiple ways including “sworn personnel layoffs” and “establishing an alternative first-response service outside of the Police Department,” according to The Milwaukee Record.

Ten percent was a big hit, especially for a police force that had already seen a reduction of sworn officers by 18% since the mid-1990s. It was a $30 million hit, amounting to a decrease of 375 police officers. Johnson told Milwaukee Magazine he wanted to look “at the entire institution of policing.”

That amounts to a decrease in the number of sworn officers on the street by more than 20 percent.

Among other things, the Johnson-sponsored resolution to cut the police budget by 10 percent wanted to divert the millions of dollars from the police budget to services and agencies “that work to address racism.” (Johnson proved even more extreme than then Mayor Tom Barrett, who ended up cutting the force by 120 officers by not filling positions.)

That same year, the Milwaukee Police Department fired back, raising the fact that another 60 police officer positions were lost to attrition through a previous city budget, tweeting, “MPD is committed to serving our community with the resources we are afforded. However, the Mayor and Common Council reduced our budget by 60 police officers this year. The homicide rate has more than doubled & non-fatal shootings have increased by over 35% since 2019. #DidYouKnow.”

Milwaukee police association

MPD also tweeted that the Johnson-authored proposal would be the equivalent of “shutting down District 5, District 7 and Sensitive Crimes,” noting that in 2019, MPD lost 60 officers in a budget reduction and “the homicide rate [in Milwaukee] has more than doubled & non-fatal shootings have increased by over 35%.”

Milwaukee police association

Johnson responded with a snarky tweet trashing MPD for fighting back. “I don’t know how that @MilwaukeePolice tweet got out of the door in the first place but, any similar ones should just stay in the drafts,” he tweeted.

In a press release full of petty barbs, Johnson wrote, “I am calling on MPD to immediately remove this post. Putting the information contained in this tweet aside, issuing political jabs at local Milwaukee leaders in a forum such as this is a misuse of resources. We must work to heal and improve our community together and not resort to petty social media barbs.”

MPD fought back, tweeting, “The Milwaukee Police Department’s recent tweet was in response to comments related to questions regarding defunding police and how that would impact the City of Milwaukee. The information in the statement is factual. MPD looks forward to positive dialogue in the future.”

2. Johnson Wanted BLM leaders Frank Nitty & Vaun Mayes to Defuse Violent Situations Instead of Police

In 2020, Johnson said, during a joint interview with BLM leader Frank Nitty (who would later be accused, but not charged, of sexual assault), “Our present law enforcement system just isn’t working anymore.”

In that interview, Johnson said that, instead of sending police to some “potential violence situations, “What we need is a system to call on this other resource like Frank or Vaun Mayes to diffuse potential violence situations.”

Mayes is still on federal pretrial release in the alleged firebombing plot, federal charges filed in 2018, as he was when Johnson made the comments.

The most recent federal court activity in Mayes’ case was a “joint status report” filed by the government and Mayes on March 17, 2022, requesting a teleconference hearing to “discuss a pretrial litigation and trial schedule,” according to federal records obtained by Wisconsin Right Now.

Johnson said to Milwaukee Magazine: “For decades and centuries, in the United States, these kinds of institutions, and policing is no different, have caused oppression and death to people of color, primarily Black people.”

3. Johnson Suggested Local Police Departments Had Contingents of White Supremacists

Johnson said in 2020 that it was “not out of the realm of imagination at all” to believe local police departments have contingents of white supremacists as officers. He also said he believed it was “dangerous” that police officers who could come from the rural and northern parts of Wisconsin, where people are “fearful of Milwaukee and the people in it,” don’t have to live in Milwaukee.

Johnson told a UW Alumni news site: “Growing up, I would hear that in local police departments, there were contingents of officers that were sort of associated with groups like that [white supremacists]. It’s not out of the realm of imagination at all. The more screening we can do, the better. People in other parts of this state have issues against Milwaukee for a number of reasons. I’m sure that some of those reasons are not just because it’s a big city but also because of the racial makeup of Milwaukee. So there are racial undertones or even overtones.”

4. Johnson Supports Black Lives Matter & Suggested White Cops From Waukesha Might Be Prejudiced

Of Black Lives Matter, Johnson once said, “I do find optimism in that movement,” and he told the Shepherd Express, “I support Black Lives Matter.”

He also told the Shepherd Express that, because of the residency rule being lifted for Milwaukee police officers, “you might get a white cop from Waukesha moving through the inner city with a gun. His first reaction might be fear because of his prejudice.”

Milwaukee police association

Although some BLM protests have been peaceful, others have degenerated into riots, with abuse being hurled against police officers, and arson fires.

5. Johnson Opposed Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Criminals

Johnson urged the state Legislature to reduce tough sentencing approaches for criminals. In 2017, he co-sponsored a resolution that called for the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences, at a time the state Legislature was considering imposing them for violent, repeat felons with guns. The Neighborhood News Service summarized Johnson’s stance, writing, “The idea that harsher penalties and stricter enforcement deters individuals from engaging in crime is simply false, Johnson said.”

Johnson was first elected to the Milwaukee Common Council in 2016; he became Council president in 2020 and acting mayor in late 2021.

6. Johnson Misled the Public About Adding Officers But Admitted to Wisconsin Right Now That He Won’t Commit

As a mayoral candidate, Johnson has shifted to misleading claims that he wants to maintain the police budget and add nearly 200 officers to trick voters; he admitted to Wisconsin Right Now that he actually doesn’t support increasing the number of officers on the force unless the state forks over more money (but he’s applauded the state giving millions to the “Office of Violence Prevention,” which is under the auspices of the city Health Department).

The nearly 200 figure doesn’t take into account retirements and the like, so it really amounts to more defunding, just camouflaged in crafty and misleading language. He told the Journal Sentinel on March 29, 2022, that he wants “funding to adequately staff the police,” without saying what that means. As he geared up to run for mayor, he suddenly sounded more pro-police, suggesting police officers should be back in schools and supporting a federal COPS grant that funded 30 cops (those things are good).

But he admitted to us that he doesn’t want to increase the number of police officers on the streets.

Johnson told us in February 2022 that he won’t “commit” to increasing the number of officers on the shrinking Milwaukee police force because the city needs to take care of other “challenges” instead, such as plowing snow, funding libraries, and picking up garbage.

In 2020, Johnson tweeted, “Police budgets that take such a substantial portion of a city’s funds make it difficult to invest in addressing the root problems that lead to police being called.” He added, “We do spend a lot on police and if left unchecked, that number would continue to skyrocket. So, studying ways to get that down is responsible.”

Yet he’s claimed on Twitter, “We didn’t defund police in Milwaukee.” He alleges on Twitter that “Police costs have risen by $115M since 2003,” missing the point that the number of sworn officers has plummeted over the years and that, since he’s been on the Common Council, he’s repeatedly advocated to shift resources elsewhere.

He explained in a tweet, “We spend nearly half of the general fund on police. Even with fewer officers in ‘21, police cost will remain ~same as they are now. Losing officers by attrition hasn’t meant that we’ve spending less on police.”

But he admitted: “The same amount of dollars no longer covers as many personnel.”

Bottom line: He’s pushed for actions that would amount to fewer officers on the streets (the 10 percent decrease especially), and that’s where the rubber meets the road; fewer officers on the streets means less time to do crime prevention, lower clearance rates, and, arguably, skyrocketing homicide numbers.

In a TV ad, Johnson claimed, “I led the fight to add 200 new police officers to make our city safer.”

The media have repeatedly fallen for this canard.

What he doesn’t tell voters, and what Politifact noted, is that “The budget office was still expecting an overall decrease of about two-dozen officer positions in 2022, even with the additional 195.”

Johnson claimed: “We maintained (Milwaukee Police Department) strength.” Politifact noted: “Based on expected retirements, those recruits will simply maintain the department’s size, not increase it.” And “maintaining” the force means maintaining a significant decrease in the number of officers on the streets.

We reported in January 2021 that the Milwaukee police force has decreased by hundreds of officers – nearly 18% – since 1995 (and 4.5% from 2019 to 2020). The number of sworn officers is the lowest in at least 25 years. Since then, it’s dropped further. Andrew Wagner, MPA president, told us in February 2022: “Our numbers for ending year 2021 are at 1624 actual officers / Budgeted for 1855 leaving us 231 short at the end of 2021. This does not include the 180 officers they removed from our budget in the previous years.” In 1996, there were 2,176 sworn officers on MPD. Years of crime decreases followed.

So maintaining the force is maintaining a steep drop at a time of historic homicide numbers.

7. Johnson said Black People Have Been Maimed & Murdered by Police for Decades

In 2020, Johnson said, in a UW Alumni publication, “for decades, Black people and people of color have been hurt, maimed, and murdered by law enforcement.” He was asked about the Jacob Blake shooting (in which the officer in Kenosha was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by a Democrat District Attorney) and said, “Folks here are marching in the street in solidarity with the family of Mr. Blake.”

8. Johnson Wanted to End Cooperation Between ICE and the MPD, a Liberal Group Touts

Johnson supports ending cooperation between ICE and police, according to the left-wing pro illegal immigrant group Voces de la Frontera.

9. Johnson Pushes Funding the Office of Violence Prevention, Declaring He Is ‘Eternally Grateful’ to Evers

In February 2022, Johnson declared that he was “eternally grateful” to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers for sending millions of dollars to fund the “Office of Violence Prevention,” instead of adding more cops to the streets. He’s constantly pushed for more state funding, but when millions came the city’s way from the state, he was ecstatic it went to the vague and ineffective Office of Violence Prevention.

WRN has filed an open records request to scrutinize what that office spends its money on; its website listed nothing on the office’s calendar but described events like “denim day,” brochures on gun safety, and a youth summit on guns.

Johnson told Fox 6 that “police culture might be the problem.”

10. Johnson Wanted Pepper Spray Banned for ‘Peaceful Demonstrations’

Johnson urged the Fire and Police Commission to adopt new use-of-force and restraint procedures, including a ban on police using pepper spray at what he called peaceful demonstrations.

Then Chief Morales documented that demonstrations were not peaceful, according to Newsweek.

11. Johnson Rushed to Judgment Against the Officer Who Shot Jacob Blake; Riots & Arson Fires Ensued

According to Courthouse News, Johnson said the Jacob Blake shooting meant police reform was necessary, saying it was “yet another example of the deep-seated inequities that exist for Black residents across our city, state and country.” Again, the officer was later cleared of wrongdoing.

12. Johnson Threw Chief Morales Under the Bus Without Good Reason

According to Newsweek, once then Chief Alfonso Morales declared his intention to retire and file suit against Milwaukee (after an appalling violation of his due process rights that even a judge slammed), Johnson said Morales “appeared unwilling and unable to authentically engage with the community in a way that honored residents’ perspectives.” Johnson further said, “Morales showed resistance to moving forward with “more collaborative, equitable, and transparent policing.”

Morales had the full support of the Milwaukee Police Association who called Morales “a man who fought for everyone.”

“Chief Morales is a person who cares for Milwaukee,” read an August MPA statement. “Chief Morales grew up in this city. He devoted his career to this city. But you took Chief Morales from the citizens of Milwaukee. You should be ASHAMED of yourselves.”

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Rep. Janel Brandtjen: Threats to WEC Chief Don’t Help

(The Center Square) – One of the biggest critics of Wisconsin’s election administrator says no one should be threatening her and says threats don’t help fix election integrity issues.

State Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, on Tuesday offered her thoughts after the Wisconsin Elections Commission confirmed elections administrator Meagan Wolfe is receiving extra security protection.

"Threatening Administrator Meagan Wolfe, or any election official, is unacceptable and counterproductive. Venting frustrations on individuals like Wolfe, clerks, or poll workers is not only illegal but also harmful to rebuilding trust in our elections,” Brandtjen said. “Threats only undermine our republic and empower the courts and media. It's essential to address any concerns about election processes through legal channels. Threats have no place in our democracy.”

Brandtjen has been one of Wisconsin’s loudest critics of Wolfe. She led hearings as far back as 2021 into Wolfe’s role in the 2020 election. Brandtjen also led the push to get Wolfe removed from the Elections Commission.

“Wolfe’s term has indeed expired, and according to Wisconsin Statutes 15.61(1)(b)1, she should be removed, but Republicans are too worried about the press or too compromised to follow existing law.” Brandtjen said.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission on Monday clarified that Wolfe is receiving extra security but refused to offer any details.

“The Wisconsin Elections Commission has had productive conversations about safety and security with state leadership, including the governor’s office, which is tasked with approving security measures for state government officials,” WEC spokesperson Riley Vetterkind said in a statement. “Those conversations have resulted in additional security measures being approved for Administrator Wolfe and the WEC when the need arises.”

Brandtjen on Tuesday blamed Wisconsin Republicans, and once again blamed Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, for Wolfe’s continued time on the Elections Commission.

“It's disappointing that Sen. Dan Knodl and Rep. Scott Krug, chairs of the election committees, have not exercised their investigative and subpoena powers. This inaction has allowed the neglect of essential laws, such as providing ballots to individuals declared incompetent, lack of checks in military ballot requests, an insecure online system, and improper guidance on voting for homeless individuals without proper documentation,” she said. “The Legislature, particularly Speaker Vos' control, is responsible for the frustration caused by election irregularities due to their inaction.”

Wisconsin’s local election managers have reported an uptick in threats and angry rhetoric since the 2020 election, and some local election offices have taken extra precautions. But there haven’t been any cases in Wisconsin where someone has acted on an election threat.

Wisconsin’s Largest Business Group Sues Over Evers’ 400-year School Funding Veto

(The Center Square) – There is now a legal challenge to Gov. Tony Evers’ 400-year school funding veto.

The WMC Litigation Center on Monday asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take up their challenge to the governor’s summer veto that increased per-pupil funding for the next four centuries.

“At issue is Gov. Evers’ use of the so-called ‘Vanna White’ or ‘pick-a-letter’ veto,” the group said in a statement. “The governor creatively eliminated specific numbers in a portion of the budget bill that was meant to increase the property tax levy limit for school districts in the 2023-24 and 2024-25 fiscal years. By striking individual digits, the levy limit would instead be increased from the years 2023 to 2425 – or four centuries into the future.”

The WMC Litigation Center is an affiliate of Wisconsin Manufactures & Commerce (WMC), the combined state chamber and manufacturers’ association.

Litigation Center Executive Director Scott Rosenow said while Wisconsin’s governor has an incredibly powerful veto pen, there are limits.

“No Wisconsin governor has the authority to strike individual letters or digits to form a new word or number, except when reducing appropriations,” Rosenow said. “This action is not only unconstitutional on its face, but it is undemocratic because this specific partial veto allows school districts to raise property taxes for the next 400 years without voter approval.”

Wisconsin lawmakers and voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1990 that put limits on the governor’s veto power.

Rosenow and the WMC Litigation Center say the governor’s veto goes beyond those limits.

The legal challenge also raises the constitutional issue that all state spending has to originate with, and be approved by, the legislature.

“In no uncertain terms, 402 years is not less than or part of the two-year duration approved by the Legislature – it is far more,” concluded Rosenow. “The governor overstepped his authority with this partial veto, at the expense of taxpayers, and we believe oversight by the Court is necessary.”

The WMC Litigation Center is asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case as quickly as possible.

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Jury selection is set to begin Monday in the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president.

Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts related to charges he paid hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels through a lawyer and covered it up as a legal expense before being elected president.

Trump has attempted to delay the start of the New York state trial several times, including three longshot tactics judges rejected this week.

What charges does Trump face in the New York hush money case?

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records related to money paid to Daniels and another woman, former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Bragg has alleged Trump broke New York law when he falsified with the intent to commit or conceal another crime.

Prosecutors allege Trump falsified internal records kept by his company, hiding the true nature of payments that involve Daniels ($130,000), McDougal ($150,000), and Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen ($420,000). Prosecutors allege the money was logged as legal expenses, not reimbursements. Both Cohen and Daniels are expected to testify.

Cohen is expected to be a key witness in the trial. Daniels has said she expects to testify.

Former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., Bragg's predecessor, did not bring the case to trial.

What happens on Monday?

Prosecutors, defense attorneys and Donald Trump are expected to be present when the trial before Judge Juan Merchan gets started Monday. The first step will be picking a jury, a process that could take a week or more depending on how things progress. The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys will select 12 jurors and six alternates from a pool of potentially hundreds of people. Each juror will answer 42 questions designed to determine if they can be impartial in the high-profile trial of a polarizing former president. The jurors will remain anonymous because of security concerns.

Once a jury is seated, it's on to opening statements where prosecutors and defense attorneys will get to address the jury about what they plan to show during the trial.

What is Trump's defense to the charges?

Trump has maintained he did nothing wrong and has accused Bragg of bringing a politically motivated case involving conduct in 2016 during a presidential election year as Trump faces incumbent Joe Biden in a rematch of the 2020 election.

Trump has spoken out against the judge, the district attorney and other involved in the case repeatedly. Trump's comments prompted a gag order from the judge who said Trump can't talk publicly about certain people involved in the case and their families.

"The White House Thugs should not be allowed to have these dangerous and unfair Biden Trials during my campaign for President. All of them, civil and criminal, could have been brought more than three years ago. It is an illegal attack on a Political Opponent. It is Communism at its worst, and Election Interference at its Best. No such thing has ever happened in our Country before," Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social this week. "On Monday I will be forced to sit, GAGGED, before a HIGHLY CONFLICTED & CORRUPT JUDGE, whose hatred for me has no bounds. All of these New York and D.C. 'Judges' and Prosecutors have the same MINDSET. Nobody but this Soros Prosecutor, Alvin Bragg, wanted to take this ridiculous case. All legal scholars say it is a sham. BIDEN'S DOJ IS RUNNING THE CASE. Just think of it, these animals want to put the former President of the United States (who got more votes than any sitting President!), & the PARTY'S REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE, IN JAIL, for doing absolutely nothing wrong. It is a RUSH TO THE FINISH. SO UNFAIR!"

Will Trump take the stand?

That's not clear yet. Trump said last month that he'd be willing to testify at trial if needed.

Could Trump go to jail?

It's too earlier to tell what will happen if Trump is convicted. Under New York state law, falsifying business records in the first degree is a Class E felony that carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

Trump's age and lack of any prior criminal convictions could work in his favor at sentencing if he's convicted. His attacks on the judge could have the opposite effect at sentencing. Before sentencing, the judge would look at sentencing guidelines, recommendations from prosecutors and any other pre-sentence reports.

In late March, Trump said that he wasn't worried about a conviction when asked if he thought a conviction could hurt his chances of returning to the White House.

"It could also make me more popular because the people know it's a scam," he said. "It's a Biden trial, there is no trial, there's a Biden trial."

Whatever happens during the trial, Trump will be protected by the U.S. Secret Service.

Even if convicted and sentenced to jail, Trump could continue his campaign to re-take the White House.

"The Constitution does not bar felons from serving as President," said Richard Hasen, professor of law and political science at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Trump could not pardon himself from any state charges, Hasen said.

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Liberal Justice Anne Walsh Bradley Not Running for Reelection

(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s next supreme court race could be even more contentious and even more expensive than the last one.

Liberal Justice Anne Walsh Bradley on Thursday surprised the state when she announced she will not run for re-election next year.

"My decision has not come lightly. It is made after careful consideration and reflection. I know I can do the job and do it well. I know I can win re-election, should I run. But it's just time to pass the torch, bring fresh perspectives to the court," Walsh Bradley said in a statement.

She is one of Wisconsin’s longest serving justices, serving her third 10-year term on the court.

“In the 177-year history of the court, only four justices have served longer than my length of service,” she wrote.

Walsh Bradley’s decision means the next election will be open.

Former Republican attorney general, and current Waukesha County judge, Brad Schimel has already jumped into the race. There aren’t any declared Democrats yet.

Schimel on Thursday said Walsh Bradley’s decision isn’t changing anything for him.

“From the beginning of my campaign, I made it clear that I’m not just running against one person, I’m running against this Court’s leftist majority,” Schimel said. “I wish Justice Ann Walsh Bradley well in retirement after decades of public service. I look forward to continuing the fight to bring integrity and respect for the Constitution back to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin’s last race for the supreme court, in April of 2023, set records for spending. The race between Justice Janet Protasiewicz and former Justice Dan Kelly cost more than $56 million. That makes the 2023 Wisconsin race the most expensive judicial race in American history. Many court observers and politicos in Wisconsin say the 2025 race could be just as expensive, or even more expensive.

Protasiewicz’s victory flipped the Wisconsin Supreme Court to a 4-3 liberal majority for the first time in 15 years.

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