By James Murphy - jcmurphyABR@mail.com
A prominent Black Trump supporter was gunned down outside his business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Thursday. Bernell Trammel, 60, a well known pro-Trump activist, was a controversial figure in the Cream City for years due to outspoken religious and political views.
Police are still looking for the suspect who, allegedly, drove up to where Trammell was sitting in front of his business, Expressions Journal Publications, in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee early Thursday afternoon. The suspect then reportedly shot Trammell multiple times before fleeing the scene. Although police have not yet ascribed a motive to the crime, they are definitely not discounting Trammell's strong support for President Trump as a possibility.
Reggie Moore of Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention said that he recently intervened in a dispute between Trammell and a young man, which Moore believed was related to Trammell's outspoken support of Trump.
"He's a Black elder who didn't deserve to die the way he did," Moore said, adding that the way Trammell died, "in front of his home and in front of his shop in broad daylight, is extremely troubling."
The chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Andrew Hitt, issued a call for federal prosecutors to investigate the crime as a potential political hit job.
"Because of Trammell's well known political activism and the possibility that his murder could be politically motivated, I respectfully request that the United States Attorney Matthew Krueger open an investigation into this heinous crime," Hitt said in a Friday statement. "No American should fear for their personal safety because of where they live or their political affilitation."
Trammell was no right-winger, but an Independent who supported candidates from both sides of the political spectrum. Included among the myriad of placards containing Bible verses, Trump 2020 signs, and messages of positivity such as "THUMBS UP BEFORE GUNS UP."
Milwaukee blogger Adebisi Agoro - who writes under the pseudonym Armstrong Ransome - had spoken to Trammell the day he was killed. Agoro described the encounter on the website The God Degree:
"Earlier today he had mentioned to me, 'you wouldn't guess the amount of hate I received from Black people.' In response to going out in the streets with a sign of support for Senator Lena Taylor's mayoral run."
Taylor is a Black woman - a Democrat - who was running against incumbent mayor Tom Barrett, a white man. You can only imagine the type of hate Trammell was subject to for supporting Donald Trump in the current political atmosphere.
"He's just a community figure," Agoro later told Fox6. "I respected him because he had a position.... He's got his opinion on why he feels that way; and I'm not going to knock him."
A tribute with flowers, candles, and well-wishes has been set up outside of Trammell's former business. A memorial is scheduled for July 31 at the building.
On a personal note, as a resident of Milwaukee this writer has had a few encounters with Trammell. He was an imposing figure - 6' 5" or taller, with grayish dreadlocks and a beard. He always struck me as a cross between the Biblical patriarch Moses and the Jamaican reggae singer Bob Marley. He was usually seen wearing a home-made sandwich board strewn with the admonition to "repent," always supported by several Bible verses.
Trammell was one of the people who gave Milwaukee its character; a street preacher who was known for shouting, "Repent!" to the community. He was not shy about expressing his opinions - something that's dearly lacking these days with people fearing the "cancel culture" mob. To think he may have been murdered for expressing those opinions is a very troubling prospect indeed.