Seventeen men. Seventeen men who never saw light again. Seventeen men who endured a horrific death in the hands of Jeffrey Dahmer.
On September 27th Netflix released a new True Crime Series. “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” which showcased the horrendous crimes that Dahmer committed between the years 1978-1991. Netflix is well known for releasing documentaries connected with True Crime. Every episode in this series showed the horrific depiction of Dahmer. Instead of glorifying this killer, he was shown to be monstrous. But what made this True Crime story so different? The reality of this case shocked viewers and residents in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Jeffrey Dahmer was an active serial killer who terrorized the city of Milwakee. According to `Crime Museum.org,’ Dahmer would lure men into his apartment, drug them, perform “lobotomies,” and eat their organs. In hopes of being successful with these “lobotomies,” Dahmer sought to create controllable “zombies” for company and pleasure. Seventeen men were murdered during Dahmer’s killing spree. Most of these victims were young brown/black men from low income families. One of the victims, Konerak Sinthasomphone (age 14), could still be alive today if not for the negligence of The Milwaukee Police Department. What could have ended Dahmer’s terrorizing reign was overlooked by two Milwakee officers.
Joseph Gabrish and John Balcerzak responded to a call outside of Dahmer’s apartment. Glenda Cleveland, a neighbor of Dahmer, had reported that a young boy was naked and badly beaten outside of their apartment building. At the time that the officers had arrived on the scene, Dahmer was walking back from picking up alcohol. According to ‘The New York Times,’ both officers interrogated Dahmer and took his side after hearing that the young man was an intoxicated lover. “There was just nothing that stood out, or we would have seen it. I’ve been doing this for a while, and usually if something stands out, you’ll spot it. There just wasn’t anything there,” said one of the officers. But did they in fact not see anything, or did they choose to believe Dahmer solely based on his skin color and/or homophobia. Neighbors claimed that this young boy did not look right, and seemed as if he was trying to flee Dahmer’s apartment. Concerned neighbors were turned away, and the two officers handed Konerak Sinthasomphone back to Dahmer. And so continued Dahmer with his killing spree.
After Dahmer was caught many people questioned the intentions of these officers. Officers that were supposed to protect the community, handed back a young boy to be murdered. So much could have been done to save that young boy, and to stop Dahmer from murdering the victims that followed. Neighbor Glenda Cleveland called The Milwaukee Police Department numerous times to check up on the young boy; and everytime the officers dismissed her concerns.
Why? Why would officers dismiss neighbors that were displaying a huge amount of concern over this young man? Was it because Dahmer was white and they were black/brown? Was it because Dahmer told officers he was gay? Was it because they were negligent and failed to check Dahmer’s past criminal record? Both officers felt shocked at the media’s opinions. Answering the previous questions with little to no information.
Officers failed to do their job correctly, went on to have a successful life. According to ‘APNews,’ Gabrish became a Captain in Grafton, Wisconsin, in 1993. Gabrish became the Chief of Police in Trenton, Wisconsin. Both officers moved on with their lives as if nothing happened, while the Sinthasomphone family grieved. Not only did these officers display negligence, but the department showed how injustices continued to be prevalent. The Police Department of Milwakee owes to the families, and the family of Konerak Sinthasomphone, to have disciplined these officers. The sad reality is that being a person of color then, and even now, puts you at a disadvantage with officers. People who are supposed to patrol and keep the community safe, yet continue to kill us.
Tracy Edwards, Dahmer’s last victim, the survivor. Tracy Edwards managed to escape Dahmer’s apartment after being drugged and restrained.
As you watch the series on Netflix, remember the young men who lost their lives. Remember the pain their mothers, fathers, siblings had to face.
Remember Their Names:
Steven Hicks, 18 Steven Tuomi, 24
Richard Guerrero, 25 Anthony Sears, 26
Raymond Smith, 33 Edward W. Smith, 28
Ernest Miller, 22 David C. Thomas, 23
Curtis Straughter, 18 Errol Lindsey, 19
Anthony “Tony” Hughes, 31 Konerak Sinthasomphone, 14
Matt Turner, 20 Jeremiah Weinberger, 23
Oliver Lacy, 23 Joseph Bradehoft, 25
Jamie Doxtator, 14