Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker activated the National Guard on Saturday following an eruption of violent protests and riots in Milwaukee over the death of a black man by police officers.
An armed black man was killed during a foot chase by police on Saturday, evoking riots and clashes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Scores of angry African American protesters gathered near the scene of the police shooting at Sherman Boulevard. What at first seemed like a Black Lives Matter-style gathering soon got out of control, however.
Several vehicles, including a police car, were set on fire, and the crowd of rioters then proceeded to break into and loot a gas station, which was then seemingly set alight as well. An eyewitness nicknamed EX414 livestreamed the escalating violence on his Ustream channel.
Crowd breaks widows of unoccupied squad near Sherman and Auer. Other squad set afire and broken windows on another. pic.twitter.com/Jux2mJZYyQ
— Milwaukee Police (@MilwaukeePolice) August 14, 2016
Shots were being fired near the gas station, preventing police from extinguishing the fire, the Milwaukee Police Department said on its Twitter account. Police had said earlier that they were responding to the disturbance in the Sherman and Auer areas, tweeting that “officers working on peacefully dispersing [the] crowd.”
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) August 14, 2016
Rioters apparently set several other properties on fire, including a bank. A live stream video showed thick smoke coming out of the windows of BMO Harris Bank, while several fire trucks parked in the area could be seen responding to the fire, after some hesitation.
Police officers have barricaded themselves inside a 7th district police station, witnesses report.
— Baltimore BLOC (@BmoreBloc) August 14, 2016
Over 100 protesters confronted a line of 20 to 30 officers, Journal Sentinel reported. As the officers sat in their cars getting ready to leave, some participants of the impromptu rally began hitting the car windows, smashing them.
— Mac (@macjaeh) August 14, 2016
Officers, who had already left, returned to the scene, with many clad in riot gear. Several shots were allegedly fired into the air by some people in the crowd.
Protesters attempting to take down traffic light near Burleigh and Sherman in Milwaukee pic.twitter.com/4qLUdTbfjB
— Steven Radmer (@Steven_R) August 14, 2016
Shortly before the situation turned violent, a woman claiming to be the killed suspect’s relative, called on the people that had gathered to calm down.
“We don’t want anyone else to go to jail or get hurt,” she said, according to the outlet.
Despite her plea, the violence continued. One police officer suffered an injury when a brick was hurled at him through a squad car window. He is currently being treated at local hospital, police tweeted.
Just had rocks thrown at me photographing this burn car at Sherman Blvd near Auer. Police now retreating. Me too! pic.twitter.com/d5CNyHAQGs
— Mike De Sisti (@mdesisti) August 14, 2016
According to Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, at least three arrests have been made as a result of the protests so far. Speaking to the media, he has asked parents of anyone at scene of the rally to “get them home right now.”
The events leading up to Saturday night’s riots began when an unnamed police officer pulled over a car with two men inside, who then left the vehicle and attempted to run away. A chase ensued on foot, and police fired shots at one of the men, fatally wounding him. The 23-year-old, whose name has not been released, was allegedly in possession of a stolen handgun, police spokesman Capt. Mark Stanmeyer told the media.
Here’s the crowd gathered near the scene Sherman Blvd near Auer before the rocks started flying. pic.twitter.com/RfNOL57OJZ
— Mike De Sisti (@mdesisti) August 14, 2016
Following the encounter, the officer who fired the shots was placed on administrative leave and an investigation into his conduct was launched.
Milwaukee assistant police chief Bill Jessup told Sentinal that the man killed had “a lengthy arrest record” without specifying the nature of crimes.
— Milwaukee Police (@MilwaukeePolice) August 13, 2016
The gun the suspect allegedly had with him was stolen in Waukesha in March, Jessup claimed, adding that some 500 rounds of ammunition had been stolen in that burglary overall .
Milwaukee has been experiencing a spike in violence over the past few days.
“As everyone knows, this was a very, very violent 24 hours in the city of Milwaukee,” Jessup noted, stressing that law enforcement were forced to make “split-second decisions.”
Angry crowd gathers at scene of earlier officer-involved shooting in Milwaukee; reports of police car windows smashed – Journal Sentinel
— stephanie (@nodramahea) August 14, 2016
— Aaron Mak (@aarontmak) August 14, 2016
On Friday, a homicide was reported in an area just one block from the shooting, and, on Saturday, a double homicide took place some four blocks from the site. In total, five people were killed in incidents involving shootings within the nine hours leading up to Saturday morning.
National Guard Mobilized In Milwaukee
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker activated the National Guard to lend assistance to Milwaukee law enforcement if any further riots erupt in the city following the police killing of an armed suspect.
Walker announced the move after he said he received a request from the Milwaukee County Sheriff, David Clarke, and spoke to city mayor Tom Barrett.
Earlier, Clarke met with Walker and Wisconsin National Guard Adjutant General Donald Dunbar.
Walker said the Guard would be “in a position to aid local law enforcement upon request,” as reported by Reuters.
The National Guard was previously deployed in a similar situation in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014 after several nights of rioting over the police killing of an unarmed black man. Its units, which are a part of the US army reserves, are under dual control of the states and the federal government.
In Milwaukee, the violent protests were provoked by a patrol officer fatally shooting an armed suspect, 23, who tried to flee the scene after his car was stopped by police over unspecified “suspicious activity” in a predominantly black neighborhood.
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