A full weekend of civil unrest unfolded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin after police shot and killed a 23-year-old man, Sylville Smith, who took off during a traffic stop. Saturday night saw protesters take to the street and torch a gas station. Several vehicles were reduced to shells, and at least six businesses were damaged during the protest. An investigation is ongoing into the shooting officer’s body cam footage, which hasn’t been released. Police Chief Edward Flynn viewed the video, which he claims shows the suspect turning towards the officer with a gun. But the audio component of the recording doesn’t yet reveal the precise moment when the officer fired his weapon.
The LA Times reports that a Sunday vigil featured a speech from Smith’s sister, Neal, who told the crowd, “This isn’t new. This isn’t just my brother … [shootings have] been happening again and again.” Neal asked the crowd to remain calm. Going into Sunday night, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker activated the National Guard while expressing hope that guardsmen wouldn’t need to be deployed by police. However, the night brought a second round of unrest as hundreds of citizens gathered again, and police lined up in riot gear to ward off the crowds. Fox News adds that these protests started peacefully, but turned chaotic with protesters throwing rocks. Gunfire also rang out with one man being shot in the neck and taken to the hospital at around 11 p.m. In addition, CNN reports that the continued protests saw at least one officer injury after a rock smashed through his car’s windshield. And protesters also reportedly set fire to at least one vehicle.
CNN adds more information from police, who claim that Smith was holding a handgun and was shot only “after he failed to comply with orders to put his gun down.” Smith has been since revealed to have a lengthy criminal history with at least thirteen arrests on his record. The officer involved in the shooting has not been identified, but remains on administrative leave pending the investigation, which includes the body cam footage.