Despite Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker declaring a state of emergency in Milwaukee on Sunday and activating the state’s National Guard a day after riots and looting erupted in the city spurred by the fatal police shooting of an armed man following a traffic stop, the violence flared again on Sunday night, with one person shot, a police officer injured and objects hurled during the protest early Monday, police said.
Protests resumed Sunday and carried into early Monday morning as protesters began swarming a Milwaukee police station, blocking the street. One victim was shot during the Monday unrest and rushed to a hospital in an armored vehicle. A police officer was injured and also taken to the hospital after a rock broke the windshield of a squad car, according to Milwaukee Police. The damage was not as extensive as the protests from the previous night according to CNN.
Later on, shots rang out in three different locations, all within close proximity, according to police. A squad car was pelted with bricks, rocks and glass bottles. Another car was also set aflame during Monday's fracas. Police moved in to arrest several protesters and by 2:30 a.m. local time, reported that it was restoring order to a hot spot in a northern Milwaukee neighborhood.
Officers are restoring order to the area of Sherman and Burleigh.— Milwaukee Police (@MilwaukeePolice) August 15, 2016
After peaceful vigils by small groups of demonstrators earlier, Milwaukee police said late on Sunday night they had rescued one shooting victim, who was taken to hospital. It was not known whether the injured person was a protester. Reuters adds that one police officer was hospitalized after a rock smashed a patrol car windshield, the MPD said.
Police said they began attempting to disperse crowds after shots were fired and objects, including rocks and bottles, were thrown by some protesters. Several arrests were reported. About 20 police in riot gear faced a group of more than 100 protesters in a tense standoff that continued into the early morning hours, punctuated by sporadic reports of gunfire.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker took the precaution of activating the National Guard in case more violence broke out over the death of Sylville K. Smith, 23, who was shot while trying to flee from an officer who had stopped his car. Despite the violence, police said the National Guard had not been called in, as authorities worked to restore order.
Aiming to reassure the community that the police acted properly, Chief Edward Flynn said on Sunday he had viewed video from the officer's body camera and it showed Smith had turned toward him with a gun in his hand after a traffic stop.
As Reuters adds, the Sherman Park neighborhood, where a heated confrontation between residents and officers clad in riot gear turned violent overnight, had been peaceful at dusk. About 200 people lit candles and gathered near the spot where Smith was shot. A few officers looked on as faith and community leaders implored protesters to restrain their anger. "We are not ignorant and stupid people," a pastor told the crowd, echoing a feeling among many of the city's African-Americans that they are systematically mistreated.
And while Saturday's violence was tangentially aimed at whites, at a news conference with Mayor Tom Barrett, Flynn said the officer who fired the fatal shot was black and media reports also identified Smith as black. He said a silent video of the incident appeared to show the officer acting within lawful bounds. He said the officer stopped Smith’s vehicle because he was behaving suspiciously and then had to chase him several dozen feet on foot into an enclosed space between two houses.
Meanwhile, on Sunday evening, several of Smith’s sisters addressed the crowd, saying their brother "did not deserve" to be shot. "My brother was no felon," said one of them, Kimberly Neal, 24, as she wept. "My brother was running for his life. He was shot in his back."
Walker announced the National Guard activation after a request from Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who met Walker and Wisconsin National Guard Adjutant General Donald Dunbar. But Barrett said any decision to deploy the troops would come from the police chief.
The National Guard, which is under the dual control of the federal and state governments, was deployed in Ferguson in August 2014 after several nights of rioting over the police killing of an unarmed black man.
Policing in Milwaukee has come under scrutiny since 2014, when Dontre Hamilton, a mentally ill, unarmed black man, was fatally shot in a park by a white officer, an incident that sparked largely peaceful protests.