Milwaukee community leaders considering recall of DA John Chisholm


By Ryan Ekvall | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON, Wis. – Community organizers angry with the Milwaukee County district attorney say they’re considering a recall campaign.

“We’re doing our research,” community organizer Tory Lowe told Wisconsin Reporter. “The idea is out there.”

The source of the anger is a decision by John Chisholm to not press charges against the three men responsible for the death of 16-year-old Corey Stingley.

Lowe, who has organized rallies in the Milwaukee region, including a protest outside of Chisholm’s office in January, says the community will wait for an upcoming question-and-answer session with Chisholm before deciding what to do next.

RECALL CHISHOLM? African-American community leaders in Milwaukee say a recall of DA John Chisholm is on the table.

“We’re not going to let this fall off,” Lowe said. “We have to let everyone know this won’t be tolerated. There are several ways to go about it. A recall is one of the ways. We are also waiting for the feds to make their decision.”

Craig Stingley is the father of the 16-year-old honor student who died after being wrestled to the ground and restrained in a West Allis store in December 2012. He has asked for an investigation from the federal Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.

U.S. Attorney James Santelle said in a statement Jan. 18 that the DOJ would “consider the matter” but needed more information from the family about the case before deciding how to proceed.

Santelle’s office declined to comment on the status of the investigation.

On his Facebook page Jan. 29, Stingley accuses Chisholm of ignoring choke marks on Corey Stingley’s neck as well as witness testimony the teen was choked by one man.

“You don’t accidentally choke a 16 year old kid to death and anyone who thinks these murderers didn’t know what they were doing is a fool and just as sick as these three murderers and that includes the DA’s Office of Milwaukee County and particularly, DA Chisholm,” Stingley wrote.

Chisholm, who said there wasn’t enough evidence to charge the men, previously told Fox 6 News in Milwaukee he is “standing by that decision and accept(ing) any criticism that comes with it.”

In December 2012, a store clerk caught Corey Stingley trying to steal alcohol. Footage from the store shows Stingley leave his backpack and the alcohol with the clerk, grab his debit card from behind the counter and rush toward the store’s exit. Three men grabbed Stingley and wrestled him to the ground. It appears one man choked Stingley. The men held Stingley face down on the ground for nearly 10 minutes before police arrived. Stingley was already dead.

Lowe said the case is just the latest example of Milwaukee’s criminal justice system failing black people.

He cited 22 year-old Derek Williams, who died handcuffed in the back of a police car in 2011 after pleading for officers to help him for several minutes, complaining that he could not breathe. Chisholm declined to press charges against any of three officers who restrained and failed to help Williams, saying the officers did nothing wrong.

Another Milwaukee police officer received just two years in prison after performing illegal anal cavity searches of more than a dozen young black men. In April 2013 the DA’s office offered a plea deal that dropped seven counts of sexual assault charges.

Lowe also criticized Chisholm’s use of a secretive John Doe investigation into Stingley’s death. Chisholm’s office also launched a controversial political John Doe probe into conservative targets in August 2012, criticized by the right as nothing more than a partisan witch hunt.

“They tried to keep this under a rug,” Lowe said. “The John Doe was a way to quiet things down (in the community). If it would have gone to trial, there would have been convictions. (Chisholm) took this out of the hands of the people.”

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