Teams of Milwaukee police and FBI agents swarmed into the city’s Amani neighborhood early Tuesday and arrested at least 17 people.
Officers also confiscated weapons and illegal drugs. While gunfire has peppered parts of the north side in recent weeks, Tuesday’s arrests related to last summer’s violence.
The Milwaukee Police Department and FBI began planning their mass takedown in the Amani neighborhood last fall.
Early Tuesday, officers raided seven homes arresting 16 men and one woman. Captain Thomas Stigler says the suspects all have previous records ranging from being a felon in possession of a firearm, to drug charges. But he says that’s not why they were targeted.
“Citizens gave us the information about who was causing the problems in the neighborhood. It took eight month to get to this point. They were identified because of the violence. It wasn’t because they were a drug dealer that we targeted them. They were targeted because they used these guns to shoot at people,” Stigler says.
Stigler says all of those arrested were members of street gangs known as the 2-9 Taliban, the 2-9 Hard Hitters or the 2-9 Money-Getters. He says residents should notice a safer neighborhood.
“The efforts of this task force has made a significant reduction in the violent crime that has plagued that area for many years. Last summer it hit a high note and sense then it has been decreasing because of the efforts of these special agents and the officers and detectives of the Milwaukee Police Department,” Stigler says.
Stigler says teams are working to take down other violent street gangs across the city. Laquida Rimmer says she hopes so.
She lives near 4th and Locust in the Amani neighborhood with her mother, 3-year-old daughter and three-day-old son.
Rimmer says it’s not uncommon to hear gun shots.
“It be like three blocks over, yeah I hear it sometimes and I make my daughter come in the house. Or like last week it was finna be a fight right here. You know kids be around so I make my daughter come in the house,” Rimmer says.
Rimmer says she feels fairly safe because she lives right across the street from a police station, but the gunshots make her uneasy. There have been plenty in recent weeks. In fact, this past weekend, bullets hit 14 people including three children.