Revolution Interview:
Curtis Sails, Co-founder of Coalition for Justice in Milwaukee

“We stood up and we said NO MORE”

March 31, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Revolution Interview
A special feature of Revolution to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music and literature, science, sports and politics. The views expressed by those we interview are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.

On April 30, 2014, Dontre Hamilton—a 31-year-old Black man—was shot 14 times by a Milwaukee cop and killed. Revolution recently talked to Curtis Sails, a co-founder of the Coalition for Justice about the police murder of Dontre and the fight for justice.

Revolution: I’m here in Milwaukee (Wisconsin) with Curtis Sails, a co-founder of the Coalition for Justice here in Milwaukee, that’s been fighting for justice for Dontre Hamilton since his murder by police in April (2014). And we’re talking about a recent hearing, where the cop who killed Dontre, unsuccessfully tried to get his job back.

So, Curtis, can you tell us a little about yourself first?

Curtis Sails: My name is Curtis Sails and I’m one of the co-founders of the Coalition for Justice. I’m originally from Tampa, Florida, but moved here about five years ago, in 2010. We started the Coalition for Justice in the wake of the murder of Dontre Hamilton. There were a couple of different rallies directly after Dontre was killed, and then I think the galvanizing point for us to create the coalition was after the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. At that point we came together and decided, this has reached epidemic proportions where we see this happening all across the nation, and we want to do something about it. So myself, Nate [Hamilton, brother of Dontre], and a couple of other gentlemen got together and decided to form the Coalition for Justice. We formed the coalition to fight for justice for Dontre Hamilton, but also justice for individuals like Corey Stingley who was choked out by three vigilantes and there was no indictment of the individuals who choked him out, in a convenience store. Or for Derek Williams, or for James Perry, or for Brandon Johnson.

Milwaukee Highway I-43, December 19

Milwaukee, Highway I-43, December 19

Demonstrators shut down the I-43 highway in Milwaukee in both directions during rush hour traffic to protest the police murder of Dontre Hamilton—74 people were arrested in the defiant action. December 19, 2014. Photos: Twitter

Protest against the official decision not to charge the cop who killed Dontre Hamilton, Milwaukee, December 23
Protest against the official decision not to charge the cop who killed Dontre Hamilton, Milwaukee, December 23. Photo: Special to

We formed this organization to fight for justice for these individuals, to stop police brutality, to stop racial profiling, but also another pillar that kind of gets pushed to the side, what we are also actively fighting for is mental health awareness and advocacy. Dontre Hamilton suffered from paranoid schizophrenia; he had just been recently diagnosed, the year before, and that’s something we want to bring attention and awareness to. The population in the city of Milwaukee is about 600,000 people, and statistics say that nationally about one in four people suffer with diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health issues, so that means roughly 150,000 people in the city of Milwaukee.

We never know who police will interact with or encounter on our streets, so we are saying that radical mental health changes and awareness need to be brought to our community and need to be brought to our police force and our city officials, so that we can stop further marginalizing and oppressing this group as well—the same oppression that we see along the lines of race and along the lines of class.

Revolution: Thanks for that. Can you give our readers of Revolution newspaper a brief account of what actually happened in Red Arrow Park that fateful day? I heard Dontre’s lawyer talk about one direct eye witness in particular who’s very reliable, and was actually featured in a video in the New York Times recently.

Curtis Sails: Absolutely. From my understanding of it, Dontre Hamilton entered Red Arrow Park, he had a couple of items on him, just a bag and a couple things in his pockets, and he decided to rest in the park, to simply just take a load off. From what we’ve heard and read, he actually laid down.

So, envision a park: there’s a statue in the park and he lay right next to the statue with his head facing Starbuck’s and his feet facing Water Street, the street directly in front of the park. From our understanding of what happened that day, the barista or manager at Starbuck’s felt like he was too close to the business, too close to the economic power structures in our city, so they decided to call the police, to say that there was a homeless man loitering in the park. There were two officers that came, and they did a welfare check on Dontre. They decided that he was doing nothing wrong, that he was legal and allowed to be in the park. They went back to the manager and told her, he’s OK, let us know if there’s anything else that happens and we’ll come back. After that, the individual who called still felt like there was a problem or a situation with Dontre being in the park and being too close to the stand they had set up outside, so they called the officers back. The officers came back, they did another welfare check and said, “Hey, he’s fine, there’s nothing wrong. Don’t call us about him again, he has a legal right to be in the park.”

From my understanding, Christopher Manney had been somewhere else, on another call on his beat, and then the desk sergeant had given him a call after they got the first or second call. The dispatcher left a message for him saying, the people down at Starbuck’s are having some trouble with a Black man that appears to be homeless, in the park. Could you go check it out.

From our understanding Christopher Manney got that message about an hour later. He called the dispatch and asked if there were any cases pending and was told no. He asked could the call from Red Arrow be put back on the docket, so then he decided to go down to Red Arrow. That’s when everything ensued. I know you asked me for a brief [laughter] account, bit I’m giving you the long story. But that’s when Christopher Manney went down to the park.

From his side of the story, he said he approached from Kilbourn Avenue, which is a street adjacent to the park. He walked up on Dontre, he said that he seen bulges in his pockets, and he seen bags that would make him appear to be homeless. And he decided to go see the barista who made the call, so he walked around Dontre’s head, which was facing Starbuck’s. That’s when Dontre opened his eyes and stared directly into Christopher Manney’s eyes. From Manney’s account he said that Dontre’s eyes were all black, that his pupils were so dilated that he couldn’t see any of the white in his eyes, and he gave him a thousand mile stare. At that point, Dontre Hamilton stood up.

This is where the accounts contradict. Christopher Manney says that Dontre stood up immediately, once he saw Manney coming, or once his eyes were open, but other accounts say that Christopher Manney asked Dontre to stand up so he could be in a more control position. Under the suspicion that Dontre Hamilton was homeless, or could be a troublesome individual or whatever he thought, he decided to pat him down. He did this pat-down before he had a reasonable suspicion that Dontre was carrying anything that could be illegal or contraband. He touched his chest and started to go into his pocket areas and he said that’s when Dontre collapsed his arms down. From the witness accounts, that’s when the stories start to vary about what happened next, as far as the altercation that ensued.

Some witnesses say that they got into a scuffle, where punches were thrown and Christopher Manney backed up. Other accounts say that Officer Manney pulled out a baton and tried to swing it, and then Dontre took the baton and held it, others say that Dontre held the baton and didn’t swing it at all. To the question you’re asking, that’s what the young lady said, that Dontre grabbed the baton and then held it clasped tight in his arms. If your readers could see me now, I have my arms clasped tight across my chest—and he was holding the baton in that manner.

And this account also differs as well—whether they were standing three feet apart or 15 feet apart but they had moved, if you’re facing the Starbuck’s, they had moved about 10 feet over to your left, so it appears that there had to be some distance that was put between them. We know that then, from that point on, Christopher Manney says that he lost control of the situation, so he pulled out his service pistol, and he shot Dontre Hamilton 14 times. From the DA’s report we found out that the 14 shots came in less than three seconds. And from that point on, Dontre Hamilton has been a memory.

Revolution: And then there was a supposed independent investigator who looked into this, actually enacting a Wisconsin law for independent investigations in these situations, and he upheld the police account, essentially, is that correct?

Curtis Sails: Correct. District Attorney Chisholm decided that given the situation that occurred, Christopher Manney was justified in the force that he used. It wasn’t minimize the threat, it was eliminate the threat. And the DA decided that his shooting him 14 times was justified, given the situation. That’s problematic to us.... Now of course, Manney’s account differs from several witnesses’ accounts, whose accounts were deemed “unreliable” and not included in the final report that the DA came out with. They interviewed between 40 and 50 people. The mayor himself even gave a statement about this particular incident because it happened right across the street from his office. But we don’t see any of those reports in the analysis that came out. So it seemed to us that the DA used the information to corroborate the story that he wanted to tell. He told the story that Christopher Manney was justified in his use of force. The problem that we see in that is that it didn’t look at the whole picture of the story: Christopher Manny in starting the incident; it didn’t look at Manney not having a reasonable suspicion to pat-down Dontre Hamilton; it didn’t look at Manney failing to call for backup if he felt like it was a problem; it didn’t look at the fact that Christopher Manney could have used other methods or means to subdue Dontre Hamilton if he truly felt like his life was in danger. So, the DA didn’t look at all those instances that we feel could have led to a different outcome to the situation. That outcome being that Dontre Hamilton would still be alive today.

Revolution: It seems like there are some shades of the Michael Brown case, with the officer essentially characterizing Dontre as a “demon” (with the “black eye”), as well as concocting a story based on evidence that was acquired later. Do you see some similarities there?

Curtis Sails: Absolutely. I think in Ferguson, Darren Wilson said that Michael Brown, I believe he used the word “demon,” I believe there was that term—and here, Christopher Manney said that Dontre Hamilton had “superhuman strength,” therefore he couldn’t control him. He said that he had “black eyes” that were “goofy.” And to us that says that, number one, these officers, when they see Black skin, we are automatically criminalized and looked at as “other,” as not normal. And I think that’s what we’re taught. If you look at the definition for black and white in the dictionary, you see black is “to defame” and white is “angelic.” And everything that’s black is bad, like the ugly duckling was the black duck. The “devil food cake” was the black cake, the angel food cake was the white cake. The soap that makes you clean is white, right? We see the differences in the way that our society has been trained, in our psyche—the difference between black and white. Black is bad and white is good. So in the case of Darren Wilson and the case of Christopher Manney, we can see that in their initial approach to these individuals, whether Michael Brown or Dontre Hamilton, they gave us these demon-like characteristics, these superhuman characteristics, or these over-criminalized characteristics. We know at the time of Dontre’s death he weighed 160 pounds. You tell me what 160-pound man has superhuman strength! Throughout the hearing he said, “I’m not a super-cop, I don’t have X-ray vision.” Well how can you be not a super-cop and not have X-ray vision, if you can assess that an individual has superhuman strength?! Those things don’t match up to us, we see some discrepancies in the way that we are viewed in the eyes of officers of the law... they see us as something other than human.

Revolution: And this is not even to mention the mental illness aspect, accosting and provoking a paranoid schizophrenic is a definition of a situation that’s going to escalate.

Curtis Sails: Right. Milwaukee’s police department has about 1,900 officers. What we found out in our conversations with the mayor of the city is that there are 1,400 officers who work on the streets. They have a training called Crisis Intervention Training [CIT], which has been in use in police forces across the country for awhile now. The training is supposedly supposed to help officers identify individuals who have mental health issues and challenges, and be able to assess the situation and call for backup to provide them with the services that are necessary, when they encounter these individuals.

Of the 1,400 officers in the Milwaukee police department, before December 2014 only 392 had opted to take that training. We believe over half of them worked on desk duty! So we had a very small percentage of cops who were actually out on the street, interacting with these 150,000 individuals with diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health issues, a very small percentage who were actually properly trained to interact with these individuals....

Christopher Manney did not have this training. He was going into his 14th year, and he had never opted into this training. That’s problematic to us. It says that an officer considered a veteran officer, who had all these commendations by sergeants, lieutenants, and the chief, was never properly trained to encounter and interact with individuals that he could possibly experience, given the high-density area in which he worked, downtown. That’s a fundamental flaw in the way that police forces work in our cities across our nation. That’s why the Coalition for Justice pushed for mandatory CIT training for all officers in Milwaukee, and that’s one of the things that we won on, so now all officers have to be crisis-intervention trained, every two years.... We want to be sure that while the police officers in our city are held accountable for the things that they do wrong, we want to be sure that they have the proper training. Because, while we would love to see these individuals go to jail for their atrocities, we would much rather for our brothers and sisters to be here on the streets, and in our communities and in our homes, so that we can laugh with them, love with them, and live with them before they ever have to get to this problem.

Revolution: Getting back to the hearing, can you speak to the significance of the ruling which upheld the firing of killer cop Manney on the basis that his pat-down of Dontre was against policy? It seems to me that it’s rather significant nationally, given all the stops and frisks in cities like New York and Chicago that objectively are not subject to any so-called “policies” like the ones mentioned in these hearings. So what is the significance of the ruling, which was mentioned by Nate as a “small victory,” on the other hand it’s not something that the police are real happy with!

Curtis Sails: I think my opinion would differ a little from my brother’s. I think it’s a huge victory because this has never happened before in this city, an officer being fired for an unlawful pat-down. I think that sends a shock wave through the police force: if you violate the policies and procedures laid out in the code of conduct, if you violate something that may seem trivial but could have enormous damage to our community, and our community decides to stand up and say something, you could lose your job, you could potentially go to jail. I think this is what that hearing said. We called them on it. So the case that attorney Thomsen put forth to the Fire and Police Commissioner is the same case that we’ve been putting to them for the last eight months. The commissioner says they want to be a partner to our community. How could you be a partner to our community if you’re putting killer cops back on our streets?

It says that the degree of harm to the community could be irreparable if officers are improperly disciplined. This is the same argument we put to them: You would do the maximum level of harm to our community if you allow Christopher Manney to come back on our force. We would have no trust in the Milwaukee Police Department, we would have no confidence in the government officials or our city and local officials, and we would fight that. We would stand up, we would protest that, we would demonstrate against that for change, and we would call for justice, because an officer like Christopher Manney, who conducted an out-of-policy pat-down, who incited this incident, then felt like it was OK to shoot an unarmed man fourteen times, in a public park, a public space, we feel like officers like that shouldn’t be on our streets, regardless of how many awards and commendations they have won in the past....

Revolution: Do you think this verdict, or even the hearing, or even the crocodile tears of the police chief would have happened without all the protest, not just here but all over the country, over police murders of Black and brown people?

Curtis Sails: Not at all. We know, and the media knows, this wasn’t a victory for the Fire and Police Commission, this wasn’t a victory for the city, this was a victory for the people—the people that came out and stood up, had been rallying and organizing. This fight has almost been a year long: Dontre Hamilton was killed on April 30, 2014. We’re now one month away from the anniversary of Dontre’s death, so this has been a year in the making, but it’s been a year of constant and consistent pressure. We put pressure on the police officers, we went into First District, we occupied First District with 300 people, we sat in and we said we aren’t movin’ until we get some answers. We targeted the city aldermen, we went to them and we said we aren’t leavin’ until we know what side you stand on. We targeted the mayor, we carried a coffin to his door in City Hall and said we’re not stoppin’ until we get some answers. We went to the DA’s house, we “died-in” in front of his house and said we’re not stoppin’ until we get some answers. We blocked off the Bradley Center [basketball stadium] and said we’re not stoppin’ until we get some answers. We went on the freeway and said we’re not stoppin’ until we get some answers. We are disrupting the flow of Black men being killed and officers being able to skate past that without having to answer to the public, to answer for their crimes, to be accountable for their crimes. And we’re going to hold our city officials who allowed this to happen accountable, we’re going to hold our police officials accountable, the individuals who oppose us accountable for their misguided views on human life and what it truly means to live in a community, where we care for each other and love each other and there’s truly a “village.”

You know—I don’t think we would have gotten this far if people wouldn’t have showed up, came out, if we had just been polite in all of our dealings and we had followed the rules. I think I heard John Lewis say in an interview recently about his involvement in the civil rights movement in Selma and the sit-ins and the Freedom Rides, he said, “Our moms didn’t want us to do it, our family members and some community members didn’t want us to do it, but we felt that we had to get into some necessary trouble.” And in this instance we felt like we had to get into some necessary trouble to make positive things happen. And so we see, through protests, we see through constant pressure, that things can begin to change.

So I know a lot of people are calling this a small victory, but I actually think we’ve sent shock waves through the city and the state, as far as what can be accomplished when people stand up and we declare that we have the power, and we aren’t going to stop until we get what we want.

Revolution: Curtis, you were saying that the coalition was formed in the wake of Ferguson, when you and Nate Hamilton were standing next to each other at a rally. And Manney wasn’t even fired until after Ferguson, in October. I’m getting at the significance of Ferguson in terms of changing the terrain.

Curtis Sails: Ferguson was a catalytic moment for the country. Dontre was shot in April 2014. Michael Brown was murdered in August. And that was a galvanizing moment when individuals all across the country were so reminded of the deep, gut-wrenching feeling that we had when we seen Trayvon Martin be shot and killed by George Zimmerman and then Zimmerman be fully acquitted for all of the crimes that he committed on that day. And people were so hurt, so internally bruised, that we said, we can’t take this anymore, right? This country has had its knee on our backs for so long that we are going to stand up and we are going to fight back. We are going to push back, we are going to say, No More! And I think we stood up and we said No More.

You know, I can’t tell you why Ferguson was a catalytic moment, I can’t tell you why. In my mind, it seems to be, this was a young Black man who was about to go to college, and I know the stories differ about what happened that day, but it was another unarmed kid being shot down in the streets, which reminded us of Trayvon Martin, which reminded us of Renisha McBride, which reminded us of Emmett Till, right?

We never know when these moments are going to pull people together. You think about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and how Rosa Parks sat down on the bus, and that became the catalytic moment for the civil rights movement of the ’50s and ’60s, but rarely do we ever talk about Claudette Colvin and how she sat down on the bus a couple of years prior to Rosa Parks. Never do we talk about Irene Morgan, right, who sat down on the bus 20 years prior to Rosa Parks? We never even heard of those people, but they were the cases that then led to the foundations for the civil rights movement. And in this instance I’d like to see Dontre Hamilton as one of those foundation layers in the city of Milwaukee, that after the death of Michael Brown, say this was the foundation, this was the catalyst, we gotta let the embers spark into the fire, that ultimately has allowed us to push for what we pushed for and accomplish what we’ve accomplished.

Revolution: Thanks for some of that history. Now, the family has appropriately asked why, if the pat-down led to the wanton murder of Dontre, why isn’t Manney now indicted the way he should have been in the first place?

Curtis Sails: I’d say... to us that says that Christopher Manney is responsible for the murder of Dontre Hamilton... And the questions that raises for us is, hopefully legal ones, but also moral ones, saying, “If I start something, and I finish it, shouldn’t I be held accountable for it?” Dontre Hamilton’s constitutional rights were violated. His human rights were violated. To us that says that Manney should be held accountable. Right now, the investigation is in the hands of the federal government, the Department of Justice. And we hope that they’re able to hear what the [police officials] said about how he violated procedure, that they are able to use Christopher Manney’s testimony. In it he said that Dontre had superhuman  strength, in it he said that he wasn’t sure if there was a weapon on Dontre before he started the pat-down, he didn’t have a reasonable suspicion at that point, and it didn’t show up until he was already advised by counsel about what to say.... We feel that there should be charges that are brought on a federal level against Christopher Manney because he started this incident.

We take it back to the basics. In elementary school, if you started the fight, you are going to get suspended. If I was a doctor and I through malpractice killed one of my patients, I’m not only going to lose my license, I will probably end up in jail. If I was a pilot who took the plane down for failing to follow the regulations, I would probably end up in jail. But the problem here is that our officers are able to commit these atrocities and not end up in jail, and we’re saying the standards should be set all across the board.... Manney should be held accountable and he should be in jail for this.

Revolution: Nate Hamilton, in the post-hearing press conference said some things that maybe you can comment on, like “You’ve f’d with the wrong family,” and “This is a small victory but we have to keep fighting”—as well as paying tribute to the Coalition for Justice and all the other people of all nationalities in Milwaukee who have supported this struggle from day one, and as you mentioned, took all these dramatic actions, that have national and even international significance. And beyond that, Maria Hamilton, Dontre’s mother, has called for going to Washington with a Million Moms March on May 9, saying “We won’t stop.” Can you tell us, projecting forward, what is the Coalition for Justice going to be doing, what do all of us need to be doing, to stop this epidemic of police murder?

Curtis Sails: I’ll second Nate, to say they did f with the wrong family. They did. When we usually see these issues, they then train families to work from prepared statements and call for peace and nonviolence, we just want everyone to come together, things like that. And those are some of the things that Nate and Maria and the Hamilton family have done. But they’ve also been in the forefront of every single march, every single demonstration and protest, every single direct action. They haven’t sat by the sidelines and said let’s wait. They said, let’s get it, let’s go, I have to get something that’s different from what I’ve seen. And that’s not an indictment on any other family across the nation and what they’ve chosen to do with their loss, but this family has decided to stand up and fight. In the formation of the Coalition for Justice we said, we don’t want to make decisions without the family at the forefront, because this is the loss of their brother, loss of their son, and loss of their loved one. So whatever we’re going to do, we want them to be right there, side by side. So our enemies, they see what they did, they see this family, the hurt in their eyes and pain in their hearts, they hear the anger in their voices about the loss of their son. But also for the people who stand with us, they are able to see the strength of this family, the courage of this family, the determination of this family to continue to stand up... saying, we don’t want this to happen to anyone else’s loved one, we don’t even want this to happen to our enemies, so we’re going to stand up to make a difference, not just for our family but for everybody’s families, not only here but in Madison, not only in Madison, but in Kenosha, not only in Kenosha, but in states all across the country, and hopefully in countries all across the world.

That’s why we’re continuing. It would be very easy at this moment to stop and say, Christopher Manney was fired, we didn’t get the full victory that we want, but we have to wait for the federal investigation now, we’re going to stop now and wait. But we haven’t. We have a Congregation and Clergy march that’s planned for April 5 , where we’re bringing our faith community out... During the civil rights movement our faith community was at the forefront of the call for justice, they were the leaders of this, and now we have churches on the same block that don’t even talk to each other, who don’t work with each other, neighbors who live right next door to each other who don’t even speak. And that can’t happen, if we are truly believers in love and justice. So we want to pull folks together for that. And we are going to Washington, DC. We’re having a Million Moms March, and that’s organized by Maria Hamilton and Mothers for Justice United. [Go to These are moms whose sons, daughters, and family members have been killed by police officers or who have been killed by vigilante violence or been victims of gun violence. What more compelling sight than to see mothers come out and stand up and call for justice, who carried their babies for nine months, who are with them the day they’re born, and unfortunately, now, until the day that they die, stand up and call for our federal government to do something about these killings, about these murders, about the unjust system that allows for things like this to happen. May 9, in my mind, is all about love, it’s all about radical love, and radical action like bringing a million people together, or bringing thousands of people together to call for change, for reform, for justice or if not that, dismantling this system that allows for these things to continue to happen.

Revolution: I really agree with you about the effect that the families can have. In Chicago last Saturday we had a dinner honoring families of people killed by police, and it was very moving. It was also a fundraiser for shutting down the country on April 14, which I’ll talk a little bit about later, but yes, I think this thing about the families getting their stories out is very powerful....

Curtis Sails: Yeah!

Revolution: They can say things that nobody else can say, that have a greater impact.

Curtis Sails: That’s right.

Revolution: Another thing about people who don’t normally get along with each other: Part of April 14 is calling on the different gangs and sets to lay their guns down for that day. And this is something that characterized Ferguson, where you could see the Blue and the Red standing together and even with their arms around each other, and their fists up in the air, fighting the real enemy.

And this actually gets at the root of the violence among the people. Really if you think about it, it has the same root causes as the murder of the people by the police.

So, I’m also in the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, and they are calling for a shutdown all over the country of business as usual on April 14. No work, no school, and major militant actions to demonstrate the determination of a large and growing movement to put a stop to this epidemic of police murder. I know you’ve been to Madison, because I saw you there, protesting the outrageous murder of Tony Robinson by a cop. We say that the action taken there recently where a couple of thousand people, mainly high school students, taking over the Capitol building, was a model of what needs to happen on April 14. Can you speak to that? I know you can’t speak right now for the coalition, but maybe your own thoughts about that concept, that call to action?

Curtis Sails: Frederick Douglass said, “If there’s no struggle, there’s no progress.” And he also said that power concedes nothing without a demand, it never has and it never will. And if we are going to stop the massive amount of our Black and brown people being funneled into jails and to prisons, illegally and unlawfully, then we gotta show up—show up and come out. Only mass protests, mass action, mass demonstration is going to put fear into the minds of our city officials and government officials of this nation, the power structures that be. We say, “We have a group of people who are sick and tired of being sick and tired.” We have a group of people “whose life hasn’t been a crystal stair.” And we are tired of this country having been, being erected on our backs, and we are going to stand up and oppose this, because it’s our brothers and sisters who are being funneled into these jails, our fathers and uncles and cousins, it’s our people.

In Milwaukee the 53206 zip code has the highest incarceration rate of any zip code in the state. And Wisconsin has the highest proportion of African-American males in the country in prison. We also know that America imprisons the most people in the world! So by deductive reasoning in my mind, that means 53206 has the highest proportional incarceration rate out of any zip code in the world. That’s problematic, and we have to stand up and say that has to stop, that has to change. And so we are definitely in support of the April 14 action, we are definitely in support of stopping mass incarceration, we are definitely in support of our brothers and sisters in the Young, Gifted, and Black Coalition in Madison who are actively working right now to release millions of dollars to the community in the protesting of the new jail funding. We know this country will not change and cannot change until we raise our voices, until we stand up and until we fight back.... I always say we never know what can happen when we act, but we know that if we don’t act, nothing will ever happen... we need people to come out, raise their voices, and do whatever they can to help us fight this fight.

Revolution: Thanks a lot for the interview, I’ve learned a lot and I’m sure our readers will learn a lot from this. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Curtis Sails: I’d say, we criticize our local departments often for their lack of action and their lack of ability to, in our minds, make the right decisions. I would say, what we saw in the five-day Christopher Manney appeal hearing this past week in Milwaukee, we seen what our community can do. Like I said before, we had been going to the Fire and Police Commission for eight months, putting our message in front of these commissioners, and throughout the hearing they unanimously voted to uphold the firing. We believe that was the direct result of our actions, not just a swing in their consciousness, but a result of our actions in coming out. So I know we don’t do this often so I’m glad we had an opportunity to do this (interview) and in your report, maybe you won’t include this, but we want to commend the Fire and Police Commission who made this unanimous decision to uphold the termination. We feel like they made the right decision. And in this rare instance, we feel like the chief made the right decision. So, while we will commend them today, we will stay on their ass tomorrow. Just know that we will be back and we won’t stop until we get justice.

Revolution: Thank you!


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