MILWAUKEE – The ACLU of Wisconsin today made the following statement regarding the ongoing protests against police violence, and regarding Governor Evers’ decision to deploy the National Guard to Milwaukee, at the request of Milwaukee elected officials. 

“Public anger and frustration has reached a boiling point again over the murders of unarmed people of color, including George Floyd in Minnesota, and Joel Acevedo in Milwaukee,” said Chris Ott, ACLU of Wisconsin executive director. “People have taken to the streets to exercise their right to demand accountability, as well as an end to generations of police violence and brutality against Black communities. Ending this unrest depends on ending the violence that starts it – not further escalation or militarization.

“We urge state and local law enforcement, as well as the National Guard, to respect demonstrators’ First Amendment rights and avoid making arrests or using force, including tear gas, unless necessary to protect human life. Tear gas has been banned in warfare and should never be used against peaceful protesters exercising their constitutional rights.

“ACLU legal observers are monitoring today’s protests, and we are committed to holding law enforcement accountable for upholding their oath to protect and serve.” 

More information on protesters’ rights, including the right to record police, is available online:

A video from the ACLU on the right to protest while demanding justice for George Floyd is at: