- The postal service carrier who was shot and killed was identified as Aundre Cross, 44.
- Tia R. told the Journal Sentinel she worked with Cross for seven years before she left USPS in 2021. Tia said she had to leave USPS because she felt she was unsafe carrying mail after dark.
- Aundre Cross was shot around 6:00 p.m., after sunset.
- Mayor Cavalier Johnson gave a short, cold statement regarding the death of Cross.
- Crime rates have worsened since Cavalier Johnson became Mayor in 2021.
- Mayor Johnson has a history of pushing for defunding the police in the past, eliminating mandatory minimum sentencing. He has also stated he doesn’t believe harsher sentencing is necessary because it will not stop criminals from engaging in criminal activity.
- Mayor Johnson plans to give millions in additional funding to the Office of Violence Prevention. Milwaukee leaders question the OVP’s efficacy and impact.
- $1.4 million of the OVP’s budget goes to employee salaries and benefits.
- The OVP website has a recent initiatives section on gun violence, but the list is practically empty.
- City leaders need to see more proof of success if they are to continue funding the OVP.
- Three individuals have been charged and are in custody for the murder of Aundre Cross. A complaint revealed a possible motive as a missing package of marijuana that had been sent via the postal service.
Friday, December 9, 2022 marked yet another homicide on the streets of Milwaukee.
Milwaukee PD released information regarding a United States postal service carrier who was shot while delivering mail near North 65th St. and West Lancaster Avenue.
The postal service carrier who was shot and killed was identified as Aundre Cross, who was said to be 44 and married with multiple children. Cross was a loyal employee of USPS and delivered mail for over 18 years.
Melissa Carter, a friend and coworker of Cross, commented on his passing, “Aundre came to work every day with a smile on his face. He’s going to make you laugh every day.” Another friend and former coworker of Cross known as Tia R. told the Journal Sentinel she worked with Cross for seven years before she left USPS in 2021.
Tia said she had to leave USPS because she felt she was unsafe carrying mail after dark. Unsurprisingly, Cross was shot around 6:00 p.m. on Friday, after sunset. Tia says those long shifts are becoming more concerning for many postal workers; working in the dark on the streets of Milwaukee is not safe even for postal workers.
Tia R. said, “He was a mentor to everybody. He was always ready with a prayer, a joke, or a story. He never let anybody leave (any situation) without a smile.” Tia recalled Cross as a person who was always cheerful and was always working to put a smile on someone’s face if they “were grieving or going through something.” She also brought up one memory of the two getting into trouble for singing ‘Bananas in Pajamas’ every morning at work.
Video shared with WISN 12 News by a resident on his route showed Cross laughing and smiling while delivering her mail only a few hours before his death. Surveillance video obtained by WISN 12 News captured the gunfire and a subject running to a vehicle.
The US Postal Inspection Service is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) involved in the homicide of Aundre Cross. Postal workers gathered Saturday evening, where Cross spent the last few moments of his life to mourn their loss.
Milwaukee police encourage anyone with information to contact them at 414-935-7272 or to remain anonymous. Contact Crime Stoppers at 414-224-Tips or the P3 Tips App.
Mayor Johnson’s Progressive POV Counterproductive
Mayor Cavalier Johnson commented on the shooting of Cross, “The shooting death of a Milwaukee postal worker is alarming. My thoughts are with the victim’s family and colleagues.”
Let’s not forget how much Johnson had to say back when a police officer justifiably shot Jacob Blake. Even Blake admitted in an interview that he had a knife in his hand during the incident, blasting the narrative as he was unarmed out of the water.
If you forgot, Mayor Johnson stated, “This morning, most of us woke up to news reports documenting unrest that occurred overnight in Kenosha after police shot Jacob Blake, who was unarmed, several times in the back yesterday evening. I hope Jacob makes a full and speedy recovery. My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family during this difficult time and, in particular, his children, who witnessed this heinous event.
This officer-involved shooting is yet another example of the deep-seated inequities that exist for Black residents across our city, state, and country. For months now, people have been taking to the streets in protest of these very actions, and while some progress has been made, it is very clear, we still have a long way to go.
While much of the attention around protests and reform has been focused on larger cities like Milwaukee, Chicago, and others, this serves as a sobering reminder that police reform must occur in smaller communities as well. We will not have achieved true justice until ALL people of color in communities big and small can feel safe and respected when in the presence of those who are sworn to serve and protect.”
The difference is that this scenario doesn’t fit his radical rhetoric of why crime has gotten so bad in Milwaukee. In his statement about Jacob Blake, he focuses all of his attention on people of color feeling safe and respected when in the presence of law enforcement. He fails to bring up feeling safe and protected within their own neighborhoods and communities; he fails to acknowledge the problem is not simply “people of color vs. law enforcement.”
Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke joined FOX Business Network’s Varney & Co. to discuss inner-city crime and weigh in on the issues plaguing areas like Milwaukee. “It’s black-on-black crime; it’s a bigger threat in the American ghetto than any police officer will ever be,” Sheriff Clarke stated.
Unfortunately, the progressive mayor hasn’t done much to address the crime rates in the city; some would say he’s even worked against it. Cavalier Johnson has pushed for defunding the police in the past, eliminating mandatory minimum sentencing, and has stated he doesn’t believe harsher sentencing is necessary because it will not stop criminals from engaging in criminal activity.
Crime has run rampant over the past few years, and Milwaukee is breaking records annually. While Johnson has served as Mayor since late 2021, crime rates have worsened.
While violent crime continued to explode in Milwaukee rapidly, Mayor Johnson made up excuses. He explained he did not have the time to implement his complete public safety plan because he was busy campaigning. When he finally did release his plan, it involved funneling millions of dollars into the Office of Violence Prevention; again.
Public safety has not been improved or prioritized because we live in a time when postal service carriers are being shot and killed on the streets while trying to do their job and serve the community. Also, Mayor Johnson is seemingly unphased and unbothered by it.
This is not the time or the place to be soft or sympathetic towards violent criminals or waste more money on a system that isn’t fruitful and isn’t working for the communities and residents of Milwaukee.
The Office of Violence Prevention: Is It Working?
Why is Milwaukee breaking homicide records year after year? Why are postal workers being shot and killed while working? It makes you wonder what the Office of Violence Prevention is contributing to help make the streets of Milwaukee safer. It makes you question whether or not the city is taking any initiatives to actively reach out to local youth to keep them on the right track.
What exactly is the OVP doing to prevent violence, i.e., which programs have been established, what benefits do they provide, and how are they performing? Where is this funding going specifically, and how does it add value to the community while carrying out the ultimate goal of violence prevention?
Milwaukee has been breaking homicide records for three consecutive years and has inevitably been raising eyebrows. With crime worsening, Milwaukee city leaders question if the Office of Violence Prevention is preventing violence on any level.
It’s violence like the murder of Aundre Cross, a US postal worker who never went to work without a smile, that makes it even more necessary to find out precisely what the OVP is doing to address violence in Milwaukee urgently and actively.
The OVP section on the city of Milwaukee website includes all of its recent efforts in its “Recent Initiatives” section, where we can see the measures and actions they’ve taken lately. One was “releasing gun safety brochures” and the “Coming Together” summit. That’s all, so they either don’t want to waste their time listing their hard work and efforts on their website for the public to see, or they simply don’t have anything to list.
Mayor Cavalier Johnson has decided to dump more money into the OVP as a part of his “public safety plan.”
The million-dollar question is how this extra funding improves public safety and prevents violence. Why is the OVP’s recent initiatives section virtually empty? We know that an open records request revealed that the OVP’s operating budget for 2022 was $5.6 million, much more significant than the last two years. In addition, records provided by the Milwaukee Health Dept. revealed that $1.4 million of the OVP’s budget goes to employee salaries and benefits.
So we’re left with $4.2 million in funding for the Office of Violence Prevention’s efforts and actions to address violence, and we do not see much evidence of success.
No, the OVP shouldn’t be held solely responsible for increased crime rates, homicides, shootings, violent crimes, etc. However, they should be held accountable to a degree, and that is because they are the Office of Violence Prevention. It’s their OVP’s job to come up with innovative and constructive ways to prevent violence.
If their efforts aren’t actively and effectively preventing violence, lawmakers will need to reevaluate what they invest in to control crime. The city should be exploring other ways to prioritize public safety if the OVP is inefficient and unsuccessful.
A long list of violence prevention initiatives on the OVP website would have been somewhat encouraging. It would have also been reassuring if they started the year off by incorporating some events focused on gun violence or public safety into the Milwaukee Health Dept./OVP 2023 calendar, but there’s nothing like that planned. The Office of Violence Prevention’s lack of urgency, initiative, and leadership is discouraging.
The city website states, “The Office of Violence Prevention provides strategic direction and oversight for City efforts to reduce risk of violence.” However, we have a practically empty recent initiatives list, nothing planned for the beginning of 2023 to make gun violence and crime a top priority, and no clear evidence of any youth outreach plans, among skyrocketing homicide rates and an increase in teen homicides as well.
Unique Initiatives to Stop Gun Violence Across the U.S.
The Miami-Dade Police Department launched a Youth Outreach Unit, known as YOU, which teams up 50 officers with 50 at-risk youth. Officers mentor these kids and teens, follow up with teachers to ensure grades and attendance are on track, follow up with their households to identify other needed services, and then work with local government and community organizations to connect kids and families to the resources and services they require.
The program’s outside-of-the-box approach is to catch kids before they enter the state juvenile or adult criminal justice systems.
Miami is also the home to the Circle of Brotherhood, a group of individuals who have experienced the criminal justice system firsthand. Some have been convicted of serious crimes and are now out of prison and have dedicated their lives to helping others avoid similar paths.
COB members take to the streets with local officers, knocking on doors, engaging and interacting with the community, and helping build a stronger bond between law enforcement and the communities they serve. The voices of those who know what it’s like to make bad decisions tend to resonate more with youth, especially.
Philadelphia has also devised a few unique strategies to tackle gun violence. The NUAD targets young men at risk of gun violence by holding a group-level intervention that promotes a sense of community and offers conflict resolution and support in local Philly barber shops.
The city has another program called “THINK Instead.” The project aims to improve public safety and build a stronger sense of community. Their approach identifies individuals who could strongly benefit from anger management, social skills, and problem-solving workshops.
Milwaukee City Leaders Want Answers
Residents are concerned about crime. Postal service workers are worried about being safe on their delivery routes. Republican lawmakers and leaders have consistently expressed their support for a tougher-on-crime approach.
Multiple Milwaukee city leaders are speaking up about the OVP and want to see exactly how successful it is. For example, alderman Mark Borkowski stated, “I guess I’m looking for some help as to how we set a homicide record two years ago, we broke the homicide record last year, and we are 30 homicides ahead of the record-breaking this year, and so I’m trying to find that hope.”
Due to the rapidly-growing crime trends this year, Alderman Borkowski says he is not seeing positive results coming out of the programs the Office of Violence Prevention is currently funding or managing. He and several other alders on the Public Safety and Health Committee, including Michael Murphy, want to see evidence of progress.
Alderman Murphy commented on the OVP, “It’s essential that when we fund programs like that, we look at evaluating that to determine whether they’re successful or not. If they’re not successful, then you discontinue them; if they are successful, then you support them.”
The Motive May Have Been A Package of Marijuana
The U.S. Department. of Justice filed charges against three individuals involved in the killing of Aundre Cross on December 9, 2022. A complaint revealed a possible motive as a missing package of marijuana that had been sent through the postal service.
The complaint filed against the individuals alleged that Kevin McCaa, 36, and Charles Ducksworth, 26, murdered or aided and abetted the murder of Aundre Cross. In addition, Shanelle McCoy, 34, was charged with providing false statements to law enforcement investigating the murder, her felony carries a sentence up to five years. All three individuals involved are currently in custody.