( 4UMF NEWS ) Gunfire Erupts During Second Night Of Milwaukee Protests:
Gunfire erupted amid unrest in Milwaukee as protesters returned to the streets for a second night after the death of Sylville Smith, an armed black man fatally shot by police.
A vehicle burst into flames just before 1 a.m. Monday, repeating a night of chaos a half mile from where protesters congregated overnight Saturday for the first night of violent demonstrations.
A young man was struck by gunfire near Sherman Park, police said. Officers rescued him under the cover of an armored vehicle as chanting demonstrators threw objects at riot-geared officers.
The condition of the shooting victim was not immediately released and it’s unclear where the gunshot came from.
Rocks pelted a squad car windshield and an officer standing along a line of armored cops facing off with demonstrators, police said. The wounded officer was treated at a local hospital.
The sporadic gunfire continued past midnight near Sherman Park, where protesters began marching at dusk after a vigil for the 23-year-old Smith.
WITI-TV reporter A.J. Bayatpour tweeted he heard gunshots ring out from 15 feet away as a man tried robbing a news photographer.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker activated the National Guard earlier on Sunday, but police said the reserve military force was not at the protests.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke requested the National Guard, saying he would “not allow for a repeat of what happened last night.”
Clarke, who lauded Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in July, likened protests over Smith’s death to similar outrage in Baltimore and Ferguson, calling them battles in the “war on police.” Clarke had promised up to 100 sheriff’s deputies on duty for Sunday night, with 250 more on-call, he said at a press conference.
Smith’s distraught sister pleaded for a peaceful night at the vigil for her fallen sibling.
“If we don’t celebrate this, they’re going to win again,” she said before demonstrators kicked off a large march past Sherman Park.
The city “went crazy last night,” she said, according to WITI-TV.
“We all hurt, but you all got to understand the family hurt more than anybody.”
Another sister, who did not want to be identified, told the Daily News she believes her brother was shot in the back after falling down during a police pursuit.
“It’s unfair, it’s just real unfair,” she said in a brief phone interview.
Smith was stopped by a Milwaukee police officer, who is also African-American, at around 3:30 p.m. Saturday after the cop noticed his car “behaving in a suspicious manner,” Police Chief Ed Flynn said at a press conference.
Smith, who was carrying a stolen gun and 23 rounds of ammunition, fled from a traffic stop, police said. The officer shot him after he refused to drop his weapon, Flynn said.
Footage from the officer’s body cam shows Smith “without question” had a gun in his hands, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said. Flynn said the body cam footage would not yet be released, citing the ongoing investigation.
Flynn said Smith was shot in the chest and arm, but he could not yet say if Smith also took a shot to the back.
The officer who shot Smith has “several years of experience,” Flynn said, and has been facing violent threats since the shooting. The officer has not been identified.
Smith was the father of a 2-year-old boy, his mother Mildred Haynes told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She said Smith recently obtained his conceal-carry license after getting shot twice and robbed four times.
Court records show Smith had faced nearly a dozen prior charges, mostly for non-violent misdemeanors such as speeding, retail theft and marijuana possession.
He was convicted for carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor, records show. Smith faced felony charges last year for a shooting and for intimidating a witness of the shooting, but those charges were dismissed.
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel spoke out against the violent protests, worried for the safety of officers and firefighters in Milwaukee.
“I am saddened by the senseless destruction caused by a handful of citizens in Milwaukee and appeal for calm,” Schimel said in a statement.
Wisconsin’s Department of Justice will be investigating the police involved death, Schimel added, promising a “transparent gathering of the facts.”
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