'Standing on the sidelines is not an option': City leaders talk about accountability, effectiveness after weekend violence

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Tuesday, some of the city of Milwaukee's top officials sounded off on the weekend violence that plagued the downtown area and attracted national attention.

It comes as Mayor Cavalier Johnson said MPD would enhance the enforcement of the city's existing curfew throughout the city of Milwaukee. At a Tuesday news briefing, Mayor Johnson said, "Young people under the age of 17 must be off the streets and out of public spaces by 11 p.m. on weekends and 10 p.m. on weekdays."

Both Mayor Johnson and Police Chief Jeffrey Norman expressed anger and frustration.

Homicides are up 51% this year compared to last year, and non-fatal shootings are also up.

Mayor Johnson said, "No, we don't have all the tools. That's why the folks who are watching this on the other side of that camera are so important."

He's referring to everyone, imploring them to take ownership of a worsening gun violence issue that was thrust back into the spotlight over the weekend.

Chief Norman also expressed his anger Tuesday, saying, "We're not going to accept this behavior as any new normalcy in regards to our community."

He wants more accountability at home, saying, "These are your children. They are our community's children, but in the end they are your children."

Chief Norman said police are doing what they can, but several intangible factors work against them. Several of the 11 people taken into custody in connection to the shootings lacked criminal records, and other people have valid conceal carry permits.

Chief Norman asked, "How am I supposed to understand who's going to be our next shooter? When you have those type of challenges?"

As he has in the past, Mayor Johnson pointed to state lawmakers. He said, "If you really care about law enforcement officers, the men and women who bravely step up to protect and serve our communities, then dammit, do something about it."

He said the city controls law enforcement, but the state controls access to firearms. "But that's not something that we control at the city level. We're just left picking up the pieces. We just got to do the cleanup."

And Arnitta Holliman, the director of the city's Office of Violence Prevention, also spoke. She said, "We don't have all the tools but we do have tools. And our tools are being used at full capacity."

Holliman says violence interventionists are working to reduce retaliatory violence throughout the city, and specifically in select target neighborhoods. She said there were no shootings over the weekend in Old North Milwaukee and Walker's Point.

Several leaders said the approach must be preventative, not just responsive after violence happens.

Mayor Johnson said, "Standing on the sidelines is not an option. It's not an option for anybody."

And Chief Norman said, "We all need to be upset. We all need to make sure that we're having a role in being able to address these particular issues."

The FBI is helping investigate the shootings, and the bureau wants any video, tips, or evidence. If you have anything that could help, click this link to go to the FBI's tip page.

You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 414-224-TIPS.

Watch the entire news briefing below:

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