We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Armed police transport a man to hospital after getting injured during unrest in Milwaukee. Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

Person shot during Milwaukee protest against police violence

Officers used an armored vehicle to retrieve the injured person and rushed them to hospital.

A PERSON HAS been shot during a second night of unrest after Milwaukee police shot and killed a black man earlier this weekend.

Officers used an armored vehicle to retrieve the injured person and rushed them to hospital on Sunday night, the Milwaukee Police reported.

Crowds had been gathering in the city’s streets to protest unnecessary violence by police against the black community, but there was no repeat of the widespread destruction of property.

Some two dozen officers in riot gear confronted a group who were throwing rocks and other objects at police near where the black man was fatally shot a day earlier. Police moved in to try to disperse the crowd and warned of arrests.

Local television showed police forming a line and using shields to deflect the objects. One police officer fell to the ground after apparently being hit by one of the objects and was moved away by fellow officers. Police also said an injured officer was taken to hospital after a rock broke the windshield of a squad car.

Earlier, video taken from a media helicopter showed a small group of protesters running through the streets, picking up orange construction barriers and hurling them out of the way. Police posted on Twitter three locations where they said shots were fired. There were no other reports of injuries and no major destruction of property after six businesses were burned in the unrest on Saturday.

Police Chief Edward Flynn said at a press conference yesterday that the man whose death sparked Saturday night’s rioting was shot after he turned toward an officer with a gun in his hand.

Flynn cautioned that the shooting was still under investigation and authorities were awaiting autopsy results, but that based on the silent video from the unidentified officer’s body camera, he “certainly appeared to be within lawful bounds.”

At the same news conference, Mayor Tom Barrett said a still image pulled from the footage clearly showed a gun in 23-year-old Sylville K. Smith’s hand as he fled a traffic stop Saturday.

“I want our community to know that,” Barrett said. But he also called for understanding for Smith’s family:

A young man lost his life yesterday afternoon, and no matter what the circumstances are, his family has to be hurting.

Flynn declined to identify the officer who shot Smith but said he is black. The police chief said he wasn’t sure what prompted the stop but described Smith’s car as “behaving suspiciously.”

After watching the officer’s body camera footage, Flynn said the entire episode took about 25 seconds, from the start of the traffic stop until shots were fired. He said Smith ran “a few dozen feet” and turned toward the officer while holding a gun.

“It was in his hand. He was raising up with it,” the chief said. He said the officer had told Smith to drop the gun and he did not do so. It was unclear how many rounds the officer fired. Smith was hit in the chest and arm, Flynn said.

Officer Involved Shooting Milwaukee Police are pelted with rocks and shots rang out in Milwaukee. Jeffrey Phelps / Associated Press Jeffrey Phelps / Associated Press / Associated Press

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker put Wisconsin’s National Guard on standby, and 125 Guard members reported to local armories to prepare for further instructions. But Milwaukee said late last night that the National Guard had not been deployed.

In addition to the businesses damaged, 17 people were arrested and four police injured, although all had been released from hospital, Flynn said.

Milwaukee Alderman Khalif Rainey, who represents the neighborhood that erupted, said the city’s black residents are “tired of living under this oppression”.

He asked:

Now this is a warning cry. Where do we go from here? Where do we go as a community from here?

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said Smith had been arrested 13 times. Online court records showed a range of charges against Smith, many of them misdemeanors.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Smith was also charged in a shooting and was later charged with pressuring the victim to withdraw testimony that identified Smith as the gunman. The charges were dropped because the victim recanted the identification and failed to appear in court, Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern told the newspaper.

Smith’s sister told the news agency The Associated Press that the family wants prosecutors to charge the officer who shot him.

Kimberly Neal, 24, spoke as supporters surrounded her at the vigil as she held a bouquet of blue balloons.

She asked people for donations for his burial.

Asked about the violence, Neal said: “People stuck together and they are trying to stand up,” for their rights.

The anger at Milwaukee police is not new and comes as tension between black communities and law enforcement has ramped up across the nation, resulting in protests and the recent ambush killings of eight officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Dallas.

Nearly 40% of Milwaukee’s 600,000 residents are black, and they are heavily concentrated on the north side.

Milwaukee was beset by protests and calls for police reform after an officer shot and killed Dontre Hamilton, a mentally ill black man, in 2014.

In December, the US Justice Department announced it would work with Milwaukee police on changes.

Critics said the police department should have been subjected to a full Justice Department investigation like the one done in Ferguson, Missouri, after the killing of black 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014 touched off violence there.

Read: State of emergency declared in Louisiana after floods endanger thousands

Read: Chaotic scenes as JFK Airport evacuated over unfounded reports of shooting

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Associated Foreign Press
Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.