Milwaukee DSA Statement on the City of Milwaukee Curfew

In the aftermath of last night’s multiple shootings, with many wounded, the City of Milwaukee has issued an 11 pm curfew for people 21 and under in the Deer District and surrounding neighborhoods. Mayor Cavalier Johnson has stated that officers will target teens who are loitering or acting unlawfully, and those people will be issued a citation including a $691 fine.

The Milwaukee DSA believes that curfews are a powerful tool of oppression rooted in racism and classism. This curfew invites increased police presence to the streets of Milwaukee, and certainly police presence is a lead up to increasing violence against citizens at the hands of the police who enforce laws with impunity.

Would a curfew have prevented this tragedy from happening? These shootings occurred despite an already large police presence in the area, indicating that the Milwaukee Police Department, despite having a massive, bloated, budget, does nothing to protect Milwaukeeans from gun violence. This is part of a feedback loop where city politicians fail to address the root causes of crime, and then respond to all crime with more police, more restrictions, more institutional violence, all without evidence of their effectiveness, and despite evidence to the contrary.

A blatantly racist curfew only serves to justify police profiling of young, Black men in the Deer District. What steps is the mayor’s office taking to ensure that Black teens are not profiled for these crimes? Based on Milwaukee Police Department’s racist history, this curfew will only make Black residents feel less safe than they already do.