Article by Meg Jones. Hat tip to Jim Duncan. A wave of muggings breaks out and police do nothing. The overwhelming majority of crime victims I have known personally have said that police typically have reacted to their calls for help with casual indifference and sometimes outright hostility. A cab driver friend of mine once had his cab shot at while driving down the street. He turned a corner and saw an officer sitting in a parked police cruiser so he stopped and told the cop what just happened. The cop’s response? “What the fuck do you want me to do about it?”
At the Tuesday news conference, Flynn attempted to defuse reports that mobs of youth were running through the Riverwest neighborhood attacking citizens. However, he acknowledged that those responsible for the BP store looting and attacks at Kilbourn Reservoir Park had mob-like characteristics.
“Clearly we had mob-like behavior in the incidents involving the robberies at Reservoir Park as well as the ransacking of the BP station. . . . Certainly we had elements of mob-like behavior that challenged us on July 3,” Flynn said.
With an estimated 200,000 people watching the lakefront fireworks, which ended about 10:30 p.m. Sunday, there was heavy traffic in the area as people headed home and police were responding to fights.
The BP was overrun shortly before midnight, and minutes later the attacks occurred in the park. Several people seen on the BP station surveillance video may have been involved in the park beatings, Flynn said.
Two strong-arm robberies were investigated by police at the park, the first at 11:50 p.m. and the second, involving Perry, at 12:15 a.m. Three males – two 16-year-olds and one 18-year-old – were arrested in the first robbery. No arrests have been made in the attack on Perry.
Most of the 11 people who told the Journal Sentinel they were attacked or witnessed the attacks on their friends said that police did not take their complaints seriously. They each said police responded to the scene quickly and tended to the injured, but officers did not take statements from them and told them to leave the area.
“You’ve got 20-plus people giving eyewitness accounts. I’m very surprised that they said it wasn’t a mob,” said Mowrer.
Lange said he told an officer about the beatings but noticed the officer didn’t write anything down or note his name. Bublitz tried to tell an officer that her three-speed bicycle had been stolen and that one of her friends was hurt but said the officer told her he was looking for evidence.
“About 20 of us stayed to give statements and make sure everyone was accounted for. The police wouldn’t listen to us, they wouldn’t take our names or statements. They told us to leave. It was completely infuriating,” Bublitz said.