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The Milwaukee Moment: Oppression, Policing, and Possibilities


This dissertation examines how Black residents in Milwaukee, Wisconsin experience and manage their relationships with law enforcement. My analysis is based on eight focus group interviews with thirty Black Milwaukee residents ages 18-70. Research questions were: How do Black Milwaukee residents experience policing by the Milwaukee Police Department? What possibilities exist to repair the fractured relationship between the Milwaukee Police Department and the city’s Black communities? Findings focus on gender specific experiences of policing in the city, citizen complaints about the Milwaukee Police Department, and participant driven ideas to reinstate police legitimacy in Black communities. These findings uncover the complex relationship that over-policed, but under-protected communities have with law enforcement as participants reveal that they desire the police services, but demand to be treated with dignity, fairness, and respect.

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