Last year, as the streets in towns across Wisconsin filled with marches against police violence, local law enforcement agencies established numerous ways of sharing updates and information on the protests. One response was the Milwaukee County Law Enforcement Executives COVID/Protest group, which became an online hub for local agencies monitoring the movements of protesters in 2020.
Wisconsin Examiner obtained emails sent within the Google group through an open records request to the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office. Specifically, the request asked for emails within the inbox of Sheriff Earnell Lucas.
Protesters marching and gathering in Milwaukee during the first day of demonstrations. (Photo | Isiah Holmes)
Although it was initially created to allow law enforcement to discuss and adapt to policy changes during the pandemic’s early weeks, the online group, of which Lucas was a part, shifted focus after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Within days protests were formed in Wisconsin, with Milwaukee experiencing some of the largest and most frequent demonstrations.
The Milwaukee County Sheriff Office didn’t respond to a request for comment for this story. Chief William Jessup of the South Milwaukee Police Department, however, offered some insights into the group’s creation and purpose. Jessup told Wisconsin Examiner that once the protests began, “We used the same Google group to exchange information and coordinate…