Another deadly shooting by police officers, this time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sparked protests and violence overnight, leaving businesses burning and citizens looking for answers. The violence stems from an incident earlier in the evening when police chased and shot a suspect following a traffic stop according to the Associated Press:
Capt. Mark Stanmeyer says officers stopped a car with two people inside Saturday. He says the pair got out of the car and ran and that the officers chased them. He says a 23-year-old man who was one of the people fleeing was armed with a handgun and was shot by an officer during the pursuit. The man’s name wasn’t immediately released. Stanmeyer says the man died at the scene. He says the handgun was determined to be stolen.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett addressed the media and public following the shooting, noting that the police involved in the incident were wearing body cameras, but the footage was not released at the time. Barrett and the police declined to identify the officers involved or the race of the suspect, but did note that the 24-year-old officer had been placed on “administrative duty.”
— Tigrespost (@tigrespost) August 14, 2016
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, at least 200 people arrived at the scene of the incident. Reports of violence popped up throughout the night, with protestors smashing police vehicles and setting some of the local businesses on fire:
After an hours-long confrontation with officers, police reported at 10:15 p.m. that a gas station at N. Sherman Blvd. and W. Burleigh St. was set on fire. Police said firefighters could not for a time get close to the blaze because of gunshots…
At one point, the officers got in their cars to leave and some in the crowd started smashing the windows and side of a squad car. Another vehicle was set on fire. As officers returned to the scene, this time with more in riot gear, as many as seven shots could be heard about 8:45 to 9 p.m. The shots appeared to be fired in the air by someone in the crowd.
Soon thereafter, the crowd turned on and chased reporters and a photographer from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. One reporter was shoved to the ground and punched.
Police later tweeted that an officer was hit in the head with a brick that was thrown through a squad window. Police said the officer was being treated at a hospital.
Mayor Barrett and Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton asked for calm during a late night press conference on the events, asking parents to keep them children home. Despite this, many took to social media to reportedly call for action and many posted some of the incidents to social media according to NBC News:
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett pleaded for calm at an early morning news conference, asking residents to “do everything” to help restore order.
“If you love your son, if you love your daughter, text them, call them, pull them by the ears and get ’em home,” he said.
People are shooting back at police in Milwaukee tonight after a Black man was shot 3 times in the back earlier today pic.twitter.com/DnX9XIWxtD
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) August 14, 2016
— 1-800-WOKE-AF (@gloed_up) August 14, 2016
Three arrests had been made during the night according to the Associated Press, but details on the shooting that led to the unrest remain sketchy. It is the latest deadly shooting following the deaths of Jay Anderson and Dontre Hamilton in 2016 and 2014 respectively according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It also follows a tense summer across the nation and a violent 24 hours in Milwaukee, with 5 deadly incidents within nine hours on Friday night into Saturday morning.
Though the race of the individual has not been released, many on the scene and the tone during the press conference seem to indicate the suspect was African American. Aldermen Russell W. Stamper II and Khalif Rainey highlighted this to close the Mayor’s news conference late Saturday, defining the larger problems facing Milwaukee according to the Journal Sentinel:
“This entire community has sat back and witnessed how Milwaukee, Wis., has become the worst place to live for African-Americans in the entire country,” Rainey said. “Now this is a warning cry. Where do we go from here? Where do we go as a community from here?
“Do we continue – continue with the inequities, the injustice, the unemployment, the under-education, that creates these byproducts that we see this evening? … The black people of Milwaukee are tired. They’re tired of living under this oppression. This is their existence. This is their life. This is the life of their children.
“Now what has happened tonight may have not been right; I’m not justifying that. But no one can deny the fact that there’s problems, racial problems, here in Milwaukee, Wis., that have to be closely, not examined, but rectified. Rectify this immediately. Because if you don’t, this vision of downtown, all of that, you’re one day away. You’re one day away.”
The state will investigate the incident according to the AP, with more details in the coming days.