MU student rescued battered Mayor Barrett

Molly Flood, Mayor Barrett's niece, made the 911 call when her uncle was beaten at State Fair Park.
Molly Flood, Mayor Barrett's niece, made the 911 call when her uncle was beaten at State Fair Park.

One of the heroes in the attack that put Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the hospital last month is a Marquette student.

Moira Flood, a resident of Wauwatosa and a sophomore in the College of Education, was with Barrett, her uncle, the night he was beaten. Flood and Barrett were accompanied that night by Flood’s mother and the mayor’s two daughters, ages 12 and 10.

According to Flood, they were walking to their car after having dinner at Wisconsin State Fair Park on Aug. 15. When they reached the corner of 87th and Orchard streets in West Allis, they witnessed an altercation between a young man and an older woman.

Flood recalls that the man, who would later be identified as 20-year-old Anthony J. Peters, was screaming to his child’s grandmother that he wanted to hold his baby. At that point, the grandmother was shouting for someone to call 911.

Barrett took out his cell phone and told the grandmother he was calling 911. Flood said Peters then ran up to her uncle and demanded he stop. Flood said she even recalls Peters threatening the group, yelling, “I’m not afraid to shoot all of you.”

Barrett asked Flood and her mother to get his daughters into their car. Soon after, Peters punched Barrett in the face. When Barrett tried to get back up, Peters beat him with a tire iron, according to Flood.

After seeing this, Flood said she told Peters she was about to call 911. Peters then moved toward her with the tire iron in hand. Flood put her hand out to keep Peters away from her. She warned Peters, saying, “You’re not going to touch me.”

At that point, Flood finally got through to 911 and West Allis police were on their way. Flood said Peters left the scene upon hearing the police were coming.

On Aug. 16, police arrested Peters just north of campus near the corner of 17th and State streets on charges of disorderly conduct, reckless injury, theft and bail jumping. Flood went to Milwaukee police headquarters and selected Peters out of a line-up.

Interestingly enough, Flood said her family almost got a ride to their car from her aunt. At the last second, however, they decided to walk since the car was so close.

Since her heroic actions that night, Flood has been thrown into the national spotlight alongside her uncle, appearing on CNN and the CBS Early Show.

Flood believes that the biggest lesson that can be learned from the incident is the importance of personal safety. She said the outcome of the incident could have been very different if they had not been traveling in a large group.

According to the Milwaukee Police Department, witnesses who notify the police of battery and domestic disturbance cases are extremely imperative. However, MPD does not recommend that civilians who report such cases should stand at the scene of the disturbance while calling the police.

MPD Officer Milton Stubbs of District 3 said witnesses to a battery or a domestic disturbance should keep moving away from the scene of the incident, while calling into police on the phone. Staying near the scene could put the witness in danger, as it did in Barrett’s case.

“We’re not saying that you can’t make the call,” Stubbs said. “Just don’t stand at the scene to do it.”

Flood said her uncle’s health has been steadily improving since the incident and he continues to be in good spirits.

“The good thing is that he doesn’t remember a lot of the gory details about the whole thing,” she said.

Professor Daniel Blinka, a professor in the Marquette University Law School and a former prosecuting attorney, said he believes the testimony of Barrett, Flood, and everyone in their party could be imperative to the criminal case against Peters.

Blinka said their testimony would give them a chance to give their account depiction of what happened during the attack. Also, the testimony gives Peters a chance to confront his accusers and gives him a fair trial, Blinka said.

Peters will be arraigned on charges for the incident on Sept. 14 and is expected to plead not guilty by reason of disease or defect. Flood said she would testify in the trial if necessary.