Dontre Hamilton protesters gathered with signs at Milwaukee’s annual tree lighting ceremony in Red Arrow Park Thursday.
The Lincoln Center of the Arts children’s caroling group entertained the public and their parents with some well-known holiday songs; however, they were not the only people gathering attention.
Protesters stood with signs saying “prison, not pension” and megaphones in hand calling for an investigation.
Hamilton was fatally shot by a Milwaukee police officer in April 2014. Although the officer involved received no criminal charges, he was fired after the incident.
Ashley, a member of Coalition for Justice, spoke about Hamilton.
“We, the tax payers of Milwaukee, are paying a murderer $400 a month in disability,” said Ashley. “Dontre Hamilton’s blood is in this park.”
On the balcony of Starbucks, police watched attentively while parents of the children’s caroling group were heard murmuring, “I thought this was supposed to be a tree lighting.”
A man stood his ground on the edge of protesters shouting back, “What about the kids?”
Protesters continued to chant “No justice, no peace,” and, “How many shots? 14.”
Milwaukee personality Carole Caine was ‘Master of Ceremonies’ at the event. She took the stage congratulating and praising the children for their hard work.
“Maybe we can drown this stuff out,” Caine said. “This is for Christmas and the kids – you’re all doing a disservice.”
Police officers began to corral protesters into a circle and formed a barrier in front of the stage. Police also removed drums and megaphones from the protesters, bringing horses into the crowed and began to make arrests.
According to the Coalition for Justice’s Twitter account, three black protesters, one being Hamilton’s brother, were arrested. No protesters were taken into custody.
After protesters were removed from the event, attendees cheered as Mayor Tom Barrett took the stage.
“People who don’t have the good things that we have in our lives…don’t want to be forgotten this holiday season,” said Barrett. “No matter the cause of their suffering, we want to do what we can to make sure they have a good holiday season.”