Milwaukee Explodes In Violence After Police Kill A Man During A Traffic Stop
Milwaukee went up in flames on Saturday night as protestors turned to violence after police shot a man fleeing a traffic stop.
The Wisconsin city may not seem like a hotbed for violent protests, but according to reports from PEOPLE and USA Today, protestors burned multiple stores, damaged at least one police car and even lit a gas station on fire.
Details are still emerging as to how exactly the arrest went down and how order quickly turned to disorder.
According to USA Today, two officers stopped two men in a car, causing the men to flee from the officers on foot. While in pursuit, one of the officers shot and killed one of the men, a Milwaukeean in his early 20s.
Milkwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett described an altercation in which the victim would not drop his weapon, resulting in the officer shooting at him. He added that the officer was wearing a body camera and that the state of Wisconsin will be handling the investigation.
#Milwaukee Mayor Barrett's Official Statement re: the latest police violence in Milwaukee: pic.twitter.com/eu19GJm3S1 — deray mckesson (@deray) August 14, 2016
The race of the dead person is not clear. PEOPLE reports the other suspect was safely captured.
According to Barrett, word spread on social media to meet near the scene of the crime to protest, and it would seem things snowballed and continued to escalate from there.
As one person pointed out, if you didn't know any better, these images can remind you of Ferguson or even Baltimore.
#BlackLivesMatter rioters target whites: "They beating up all the white people." #Milwaukee pic.twitter.com/G85jnYtd3k — Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) August 14, 2016
People are breaking into gas station after 23 year old male was shot and killed by #mpd officer. #milwaukee pic.twitter.com/JVXz56viPI — ITSBIZKIT (@itsbizkit) August 14, 2016
#Milwaukee police have left the area...This is a closeup look at the damage of the #BP @WISN12News pic.twitter.com/OTtuwMB6PP — Ben Hutchison (@BennyHutch) August 14, 2016
Violence erupts in Milwaukee after a police officer fatally shoots 23-year-old man https://t.co/cmqNMxg778https://t.co/lxYazpiH0R — ABC News (@ABC) August 14, 2016
Though no race has been given for the victim or the officer who shot him, it would appear based on statements from leaders in Milwaukee that people think the killing was connected with the victim's race.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee Alderman Khalif Rainey described the death in racial terms.
This entire community has sat back and witnessed how Milwaukee, Wis., has become the worst place to live for African-Americans in the entire country. Now this is a warning cry. Where do we go from here? Where do we go as a community from here? Do we continue – continue with the inequities, the injustice, the unemployment, the under-education, that creates these byproducts that we see this evening? … The black people of Milwaukee are tired. They're tired of living under this oppression. This is their existence. This is their life. This is the life of their children. Now what has happened tonight may have not been right; I'm not justifying that. But no one can deny the fact that there's problems, racial problems, here in Milwaukee, Wis., that have to be closely, not examined, but rectified. Rectify this immediately. Because if you don't, this vision of downtown, all of that, you're one day away. You're one day away.
It seems statements like Rainey's as well as the seemingly random, sudden explosion of violence in Milwaukee prompted people on Twitter to think about what caused these riots. The responses were varied.
Some blamed the protesters, and others blamed systemic factors, connecting this events of Milwaukee with those in Baltimore and Ferguson.
Nothing says justice like burning down your OWN COMMUNITY. #Milwaukee — TheFOO (@PolitiBunny) August 14, 2016
At the very least, it seems like there's enough context to warrant a full investigation of the shooting, which the mayor said will be handled by the state of Wisconsin.
While the state figures out how to proceed with an investigation, the officer who killed the man will be placed on administrative leave.
Citations: Violence erupts after police shooting in Milwaukee (USA Today), Violent Protests Erupt in Milwaukee Following Fatal Police Shooting of an Allegedly Armed Suspect (PEOPLE), Violence erupts after officer-involved shooting (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)