On May 30, a Milwaukee police officer killed 49-year-old Roberto Zielinski outside his home in Milwaukee’s south side. The Milwaukee Police Department claims that Zielinski was shooting into the air while sitting on his porch, and that he would not drop his gun when ordered. However, this statement conflicts with multiple witness accounts.
Jacob Gonzalez, Zielinski’s nephew, spoke at a press conference held June 6 and organized the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression outside MPD District 6. “The stress and the emotions that my family has right now is at an all-time high,” said Gonzalez. “We all just really looked at each other and said we’ve got to know what’s going on because I can’t think my uncle would do anything like this.”
Zielinski’s sister-in-law Jessica Zielinski also spoke out. “The media can portray him as whatever,” she said. “But at the end of the day, he was a good father, good brother-in-law.”
“You know, we’re all just grieving,” Gonzalez said. “Me and my family, we really just want to see footage and see exactly what’s going on and have answers to this because we’re all just hurt. We’re all just hurt.” The moment was somber, as community members and activists stand in solidarity with the family, who have been forced to face this injustice.
“Imagine losing a loved one to police violence and not being afforded the peace of knowing what actually happened to them,” said Omar Flores of MAARPR. “There are cities where police bodycam footage is released immediately after a police killing. Milwaukee is not one of those cities,” he explained. “They are still holding onto the footage of Michael Mattioli killing Joel Acevedo.” Joel Acevedo was killed by off-duty MPD officer Michael Mattioli on April 18 of last year. The case against Mattioli is ongoing.
“The delay of the release of full body cam footage is a significant issue,” County Supervisor Ryan Clancy said. “We also don’t even know the identifying information and name of the officer involved in the shooting.”
Milwaukee Police must be held accountable for the murders of Roberto Zielinski, Joel Acevedo, and so many others. The family and community deserve answers. We demand the immediate release of all bodycam footage and the name of the cop responsible for ending the life of Zielinski.
Feature photo: Jacob Gonzalez speaks at a press conference following the police killing of his uncle Roberto Zielinski. Liberation photo