National Guard Activated After Riots in Milwaukee
Overnight rioting in Milwaukee sparked by the police shooting of a 23-year old armed black man has caused the governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, to activate the Army National Guard.
Governor Scott Walker announced that the National Guard would be activated after a request from the Sheriff of Milwaukee County, David Clarke. The Guard will not be deployed unless police request it.
Incident “Appeared Justified”
The shooting occurred Saturday, August 13th, when police spotted a suspicious vehicle and stopped it. During the stop, a man exited the vehicle and brandished a firearm.
One officer ordered Sylville K. Smith, 23, to drop his gun, and when Smith did not comply, the officer shot him twice.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said that the officer was wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting. The video has yet to be released. However, Flynn believes that, according to images he has seen, [the officer] certainly appeared to be within lawful bounds.”
Nevertheless, riots began Saturday night.
Racial Tensions in Milwaukee
Both Smith and the officer involved in the shooting on Milwaukee’s north side are black. The officer has three years of active service with the department.
In 2014, a mentally ill black man was shot by police in Milwaukee, sparking largely peaceful protests in the city.
Riots following the shooting on Saturday, however, were anything but peaceful. Four officers were injured, seven police vehicles were damaged and 17 people were arrested during the violence last night and early Sunday morning.
It is being reported that the handgun that Sylville Smith carried was stolen in a burglary in March.
On Sunday morning, residents from all over the city gathered in Sherman Park, close to the site of the riots, and began cleaning up streets and businesses damaged in the unrest. A group of 30 residents came out to the burned-out shell of an O’Reilly Auto Parts store and began cleaning what they could.
Because the shooting involves Milwaukee Police, they cannot conduct an internal investigation. The incident is currently under investigation by the State of Wisconsin, which is standard practice according to state law.