Sticky: Causey and what’s really insensitive
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s James Causey is promoting a rally planned for Thursday morning against WISN-AM’s Mark Belling because Belling dares to describe the character of the late Derek Williams in unflattering terms. Williams died in police custody after being arrested when the police officers failed to take him for medical assistance when he said he couldn’t breathe.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Williams was arrested for fleeing the police after attempting to rob a couple near Holton Avenue and Center Street. Williams had just gotten out of jail, “after being arrested on municipal warrants for loitering, vandalism and assault,” according to the newspaper.
After saying that the police should have gotten Williams some medical attention, Belling called Williams, “a dirty, rotten thug” and a “piece of garbage.”
For some reason, Causey is upset that Belling would dare call someone like Williams, an apparently violent criminal who preyed upon his neighbors, “a dirty, rotten thug” and a “piece of garbage.” Causey then asked in his blog post for the newspaper, “Why does WISN-AM (1130) continue to allow this kind of insensitive speech?”
Belling was insensitive towards a criminal, and for that Causey thinks WISN should take him off the air.
So Belling asked Causey, what would you call Williams? Causey responded, “Let me say that Williams did not deserve to die the way he did. He was begging for his life and his cries were ignored and because of that, officers should be punished.”
But Belling never said that the cops shouldn’t be punished, and actually went out of his way to make it clear that he wasn’t saying that. Belling was putting Williams’ death in perspective, not claiming that the officers should be given a free pass.
But if Causey admits that Williams was a “piece of garbage” and “a dirty rotten thug,” he can’t gin up controversy for the WMCS-AM radio show where he appears with Earl Ingram. Instead, Causey used his newspaper position to promote a rally organized by Ingram against WISN’s Mark Belling.
Instead on worrying about Belling and WISN-AM, perhaps one of Causey’s editors should wonder why Causey is using his position at the newspaper to ceate a fake controversy to attract more attention to his nascent radio career, especially when the station Causey appears on isn’t even owned by Journal Communications. The job moonlighting is affecting Causey’s judgement and the quality of the work he is producing for them.
We should all be concerned when a suspect dies in police custody, and certainly the death requires a complete investigation. If the officers are found guilty of being negligent, they should be punished accordingly.
But let”s not forget that Belling was correct in his descriptions of Williams. Dying in police custody doesn’t suddenly make someone like Williams a saint.
Will Causey and Ingram lead another rally outside the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel offices on State Street for daring to mention Williams’ criminal behavior? Was that not insensitive, too? But that doesn’t help Causey’s career, does it?
The real insensitivity in this story is how Causey is using Williams’ corpse to make a name for himself.