MILWAUKEE (WSAU-Wheller News) A shooting death by a police officer near Milwaukee's City Hall has the mayor defending the downtown's safety, and investigators using a new state law for the first time. Police Chief Ed Flynn said a 38-year-old officer was sent to Red Arrow Park around 3:30 yesterday afternoon to check out a call about a suspect. He said the officer started patting the man down when they got into a scuffle. Flynn said the suspect took the officer's baton and started beating him in the head -- and the officer pulled his weapon and fired up to ten shots.
Mayor Tom Barrett said he heard at least five shots from his City Hall office. It shook up numerous bystanders and workers in the area, as 30 officers converged in response. A nearby matinee had just ended, and several theater-goers could not get to their cars because they were cordoned off in the crime scene.
The suspect died there with the officer's baton under his body. The officer -- a 13-year Milwaukee police veteran -- was treated at a hospital and later released.
Barrett said it would be the first test of a new state law signed a week ago, that requires outside investigators to look into the deaths of suspects in police custody. Until now Milwaukee's internal affairs division handled those probes. The new law requires at least two officers from another agency to investigate -- and if charges are not filed, the investigative reports must be made public.
The mayor also said the shooting was an isolated incident, and downtown Milwaukee remains extremely safe.