The shooting of an armed man by a Milwaukee officer resulted in widespread unrest in the city. On Saturday, demonstrators took to the streets to protest the killing of 23-year-old Sylville Smith. Last night, the violent unrest in the Sherman Park neighborhood continued, resulting in the shooting of at least one person.
Smith was shot by an officer during a foot chase that occurred after a traffic stop. The officer who pursued Smith wore a body camera that revealed that Smith had a gun in his hand at the time of the shooting. Peaceful protests started on Saturday afternoon. However, the scene turned violent when protesters began throwing bricks, destroying businesses and setting fire to police cars.
Early Sunday afternoon, members of the community attempted to help clean up the aftermath of the riots. Governor Scott Walker activated the state’s National Guard to assist officers with any issues on Sunday.
In the later evening hours, violent protests persisted when demonstrators continued to throw objects. Around 11 p.m., responding officers said they received a call about shots fired.
Milwaukee officers used an armored vehicle to penetrate the protesters and rescue the 18-year-old, unnamed, victim of the shooting. He was taken to a nearby hospital to receive treatment for his injuries.
Officers then began arresting dissenting protesters until the bulk of the unrest subsided. This morning, officers scaled back their defense and community members continue to clean up the neighborhood.
Although this unrest appears to be the result of Smith’s death, many experts believe violent protests of this scale were years in the making. In 2013, the city of Milwaukee was the country’s most segregated metropolitan area and many Black residents have felt extremely oppressed and disenfranchised over the years.
City Alderman Khalif Rainey said, "This entire community has sat back and witnessed how Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has become the worst place to live for African-Americans in the entire country. Now this is a warning cry. Where do we go from here? Where do we go as a community from here?”
(Photo: AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
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