Two days after a 23-year-old Black man was shot and killed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at least two people were injured during protests that turned violent, CNN reports.
According to Milwaukee police, an unnamed man was shot early Monday morning and transported to a nearby hospital in an armored vehicle during the protests. An officer was also injured and taken to the hospital after a rock broke through the windshield of his squad car.
During the first night of protests on Saturday, four officers were injured and 17 people were arrested, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said. The National Guard was activated, but will not be deployed unless Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn gives authorization.
The unrest was stirred by Saturday’s police shooting of Sylville Smith, a local resident who along with a friend, fled the scene when approached by officers in an alleged stolen vehicle. Milwaukee police contend the responding officer, who fatally shot Smith, was forced to fire his weapon after Smith pointed a loaded gun. The unidentified officer is a 24-year-old Black male and has been placed on administrative leave. According to CNN, the Wisconsin Department of Justice is leading the investigation.
Smith’s family and community members began Sunday evening peacefully, gathering for a vigil in Smith’s memory near the shooting’s location in North Milwaukee. The family called for calm and condemned Saturday night’s violent eruption.
Kimberly Neal, Smith’s sister, painted a stark contrast to the man who police said had a lengthy criminal record, saying her brother loved basketball and always, “kept it real.”
“He should have been tased, if anything,” she told CNN. “We want everybody to feel our pain.”
What lies behind the protests that turned violent on Saturday, resulting in protesters scorching six businesses, including a BP gas station, heightens the erosion of trust between Blacks and legislators in the Milwaukee community.
Smith’s shooting is one of many high-profile incidents in Milwaukee, most notably the shooting of 33-year-old Dontre Hamilton. Hamilton was fatally shot 14 times in April 2014 after officers responded to a complaint of a sleeping man in a public park. After the shooting, Hamilton’s family lamented that he was not dangerous, but suffered from mental illness.
David A. Clarke, a controversial Milwaukee sheriff who has been openly critical of the Black community, said the riots were spurred by the policies of Democrats and the liberal media in an op-ed for The Hill. Clarke also tweeted that Blacks should be more concerned about violence in their community, rather than the death of one armed man.
City Alderman Khalif Rainey told CNN that the riots are the result of years of neglect of African-Americans in Milwaukee that resulted in economic and educational disparities and racial injustice – much like cities that have suffered the same trajectory within the last two years, including Ferguson and Baltimore.
“This community of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has become the worst place to live for African-Americans in the entire country,” Rainey said. “Something has to be done to address these issues.The black people of Milwaukee are tired; they are tired of living under this oppression, this is their life.”