MILWAUKEE (AP) — Violence erupted in a predominantly Black north Milwaukee neighborhood on Saturday night several hours after a police officer shot and killed a man who police said fled a traffic stop and was armed with a handgun. Police revealed at a news conference Sunday afternoon that the man who was killed, Sylville Smith, and the officer who shot him were both Black.
Tension between police and the Black community has ratcheted up in recent years due to a series of racially tinged incidents.
A look at some of them, all involving Black victims:
Officer Christopher Manny was not charged in Hamilton’s killing, but he was fired for not following procedures. Manny said he was defending himself after Hamilton took his police baton.
The killing triggered months of protests and calls for police reform. The Justice Department is working with police on what’s called a collaborative reform process, a less stringent review than a review of the department’s patterns and practices requested by some critics.
Derek Williams, 22, died in a police car in July 2011. Squad car video showed him handcuffed, struggling to breathe and pleading for medical attention from the officers who detained him as a robbery suspect. He died soon after.
His death and that footage brought national attention to the Milwaukee police department. Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn later clarified that officers should immediately call paramedics if a prisoner has trouble breathing or is in pain.
None of the three officers involved in the incident was charged. His family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit earlier this year.
James Perry died inside the booking area of Milwaukee’s County Jail in September 2010.
He had been taken to the hospital earlier that day after hitting his head and suffering a seizure, but was released back to police. He had been arrested because he was driving a car that was linked to an armed robbery.
Perry was still struggling after being released from the hospital, and begged for help after police put a spit mask on him because he continually drooled into his lap. An officer can be overheard in video footage accusing Perry of faking.
The city of Milwaukee was forced to pay $100,000 to Jeanine Tracy, who was punched and dragged out of her car by her hair during a 2011 traffic stop.
Tracy had been arrested for being argumentative during the traffic stop, allegedly spitting and cursing before officer Richard Schoen pulled her from the car. A panel’s decision to suspend Schoen for 60 days was later reversed after public outcry. Schoen was fired.