Two Nights Of Riots In Milwaukee After Police Officer Fatally Shoots Armed Man
After a police officer fatally shot an armed man on Saturday, violent protests erupted in the streets of Milwaukee where at least one person was shot Sunday night.
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The violent protests and brawls that broke out for the second night on Sunday were started after a black police officer fatally shot another black man, 23 year-old, Sylville Smith, who was armed with a handgun after fleeing a traffic stop. Reports say that Smith was seemingly raising the handgun towards the Officer. Officials say he also had a criminal record. He had been arrested or ticketed nine times since 2011, including theft, robbery, possession of heroin, carrying a concealed weapon and more.
A statement from the Milwaukee Police Department read,
“A Milwaukee Police officer shot and killed an armed suspect fleeing from a car on Milwaukee’s North Side. The incident began when two uniformed MPD officers stopped two suspects in a car in the 3200 block of N. 44th Street at about 3:30 p.m. on August 13. Shortly after stopping the suspects, both occupants fled from the car on foot. The officers pursued the suspects, and during the foot pursuit one officer shot one suspect, armed with a semiautomatic handgun, in a yard also in the 3200 block of N. 44th Street. The suspect died from his injuries at the scene.”
A few short hours after the fatal shooting, angry mobs took to the streets and began to destroy police cars as well as set fire to buildings.
According to police, more than 200 people took part in the violent protests.
One police officer was hospitalized after a rock smashed through a patrol car windshield. Another car was damaged after the mobs of angry people began throwing bricks and rocks at it. Milwaukee police added that a gas station was set ablaze as well as six businesses.
Police say that they rescued an 18-year old shooting victim on Sunday and had to take him to a nearby hospital with the help of an armored vehicle, where he had serious injuries.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said that 17 people had been arrested, all of them having a prior criminal record. Four officers were also injured in the violent riot.
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Following the violent outbreak, the National Guard was activated.
“Following a request from Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, and after discussions with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Adjutant General Donald Dunbar I have activated the Wisconsin National Guard to be in a position to aid local law enforcement upon request,” Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said to reporters on Sunday that the 125 members of the National Guard were being sent to Milwaukee but would not be deployed unless it was deemed necessary.
Chief Flynn said the officer was wearing a body camera that showed that Smith was armed with a gun and turned towards the officer with the gun after being told to drop the weapon.
Flynn added that the officer who fatally shot Smith was black and had been working with the Milwaukee Police Department for six years. Flynn said that the police were “concerned” for the safety of the officer. He was also placed on administrative duty.
“We are concerned for his safety,” Flynn said of the unidentified officer. “He has been staying with relatives out of town.”
Mayor Tom Barrett said the officer said that the handgun that Smith was carrying at the time was stolen and was loaded with 23 rounds of ammunition in it after the incident on Saturday.
A few of Smith’s sisters talked to the crowd Sunday evening.
“My brother was no felon,” said Kimberly Neal, 24. “My brother was running for his life. He was shot in his back.”
Calls for peace were mentioned on Sunday evening after hundreds of Milwaukee came to mourn Smith’s death.
Smith’s sister, Sherelle Smith condemned the acts of violence.
“Don’t bring that violence here,” Smith said.
“If you love your son, if you love your daughter, text them, call them, pull them by the ears and get them home. Get them home right now before more damage is done,” Mayor Barrett said on Sunday.