On August 31, 2017, bicycle patrol officers with the Milwaukee Police Department interrupted a fight between four people, one of whom was 19 year-old Jerry Smith, Jr. Smith and a friend were reportedly involved in an interaction with at least two other people who had a knife and brass knuckles. When bicycle patrol officers rolled up and attempted to detain Smith he ran away to the roof of a nearby building.
Soon after, Milwaukee PD officers Adam Stahl and Melvin Finkley received a dispatch call about an armed man on a roof—a false report made by a person armed with a knife who might have been involved in the fight. When they arrived at the scene, the two officers got better intelligence. Smith was behind an AC unit on the roof but had no gun in his hand, Stahl and Finkley were told by officers on the scene.
When Stahl and Finkley confronted Smith on the roof he was standing in plain sight and clearly unarmed. Smith raised his arms when commanded to and appeared to be in the process of getting to the ground when Stahl and Finkley opened fire on him, hitting him twice and grazing his head with a third bullet. Smith has undergone several surgeries since and has permanent paralysis in his right leg.
The entire incident was captured on body camera video released to the public. But remarkably, District Attorney John Chisholm elected not to bring charges against officers Stahl and Finkley. Members of the community have compared the incident to another one in which a 20 year-old white man with an assault rifle was detained without violence despite refusing commands to drop the weapon.
Please contact District Attorney John Chisholm and U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger through one of the channels below with the following message (personalized to your liking):
Please bring charges against Milwaukee PD officers Adam Stahl and Melvin Finkley for shooting 19 year-old Jerry Smith, Jr. on August 31, 2017 during a rooftoop encounter and wounding him catastrophically. A video of the incident recorded by a body camera shows that Smith was standing in plain sight and clearly unarmed. The video also shows Smith complying with the officers’ instructions by raising his hands and starting to sink to the ground. I am absolutely shocked that the two officers were exonerated on first review. That is NOT acceptable. Shooting unarmed members of our community like this CANNOT be the standard for the Wisconsin Police Department moving forward. I will not accept it for the people I love or anyone else. If not for sheer luck, officers Stahl and Finkley could have taken this young man’s life from him. NO MORE. Charge Stahl and Finkley with attempted homicide and send a clear message to other Wisconsin law enforcement officers that this type of wanton disregard for life will not be tolerated anymore. I will be watching your actions closely.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm
Phone: (414) 278-4646
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin Matthew Krueger
Phone: (414) 297-1700
Once you have contacted DA Chisholm and US Attorney Krueger, fill out the three fields below and click the orange banner to report taking action!