Though early reports indicate the police shooting may have been a proper and necessary shoot of a man with a gun and a record of violence by a black officer, the African-American Community demonstrated, looted and destroyed both police and private property in protest.
A second night of violence followed pleas for peace on Sunday, August 15, after violent overnight protests and attacks on police officers Saturday in the wake of police shooting and killing Sylville K. Smith.
According to police reports Mr. Smith, fled a Saturday afternoon traffic stop on foot. Unnamed officers pursued him and when Smith faced a fence he turned to the officers with a gun in his hand and refused orders to drop it, according to Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn, who added that both the officer and suspect are African-American. The officer was wearing a video cam but the video has not yet been released.
Community members say the frustration and anger of the African American Community has been building for years.
NPR’s Cheryl Coley reported the relationship between police and minority communities in Milwaukee has been “tense, especially since a couple of years ago, a young man, Dontre Hamilton, was shot by a white police officer 14 times.” She added: “That spurred massive protests that went on for months here, and now you have this shooting as well. And it’s just been a rough time here, in the past few days there have been at least 5 people dying in shootings over a 9 hour stretch, and now this police shooting.