Violence and protests erupted in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, overnight after a 23-year-old man was fatally shot by police.
According to NBC News, police claim the the victim was armed with a handgun when fleeing a traffic stop on Milwaukee’s north side Saturday afternoon. The man, who has not been identified, was struck twice in the chest and the arm by a local officer. Shortly after the shooting, at least 200 protesters in this mostly African-American part of town, took to the streets, which later turned into a violent standoff that included smashing a police car, setting fire to another and burning down an auto-parts store, a beauty supply company and a bank branch, the New York Times reported.
In addition, officials claim gunshots were fired, which stopped firefighters from putting the fires out, and two injured police officers were hospitalized. And despite all of the chaos and destruction, only three people have been arrested.
In a news conference held on Sunday morning, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett begged residents to “do everything” to help restore order in their city, NBC noted.
“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.
Milwaukee Assistant Police Chief James Harpole also told reporters that while the large crowds have dispersed, there’s still “a lot of people out.” “It is still a very tense situation for us,” he stressed.
In the meantime, Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton is asking for residents to help restore order.
“We understand the frustration people feel with the police community nationally. … We have to go through the process of finding justice, but we have to be able to restore order to these neighborhoods,” she said.
This isn’t the first time that protests have broke out in Wisconsin in the past year.
HELLO BEAUTIFUL previously reported that in 2015, a police officer in Madison, Wis., fatally shot Tony Terrell Robinson, Jr., an unarmed Black high school graduate. His death sparked a series of protests and vigils through out the city.
Alderman Khalif J. Rainey told the Times that this most recent standoff underscores the level of anger, frustration and mistrust that Black residents have with the police and the levels of deadly force officials seem to on communities of color.
“What has happened may not have been right. I’m not justifying that, but nobody can deny that there are racial problems here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that have to be rectified, because if you don’t, you’re one day away,” Rainey said.
Statistically dubbed “the most segregated city in America,” last year NPR listed Milwaukee as one of the worst places for African Americans to live due to its steep racial disparities in education, incarceration and housing, the Root pointed out.
it’s important to note that the race and identity of the officer and the man shot and killed have yet to be released. Officials say they will release more details about the shooting and bodycam footage–if it exists–in the near future.
As of now, the officer responsible for the shooting death has been placed on administrative leave.
This is a developing story. We will provide updates as they become available.