‘This is a warning cry’: violence erupts in Milwaukee after police shoot armed man
The latest violence comes after several police officers have been targeted and shot to death across the nation in recent weeks amid a nationwide outcry over the deaths of unarmed African Americans at the hands of police
A crowd of protesters skirmished with police in a Milwaukee neighbourhood where an officer shot and killed a man after a traffic stop and foot chase earlier in the day, setting fire to a police car and torching a gas station. One officer was hurt by a thrown brick.
Police said the 23-year-old man was armed with a handgun, but Assistant Chief Bill Jessup told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that it wasn’t immediately clear whether the man had pointed a gun or fired at the officer. They described the man as a suspect, but didn’t say what led to the traffic stop on Saturday.
The latest violence comes after several police officers have been targeted and shot to death across the nation in recent weeks amid a nationwide outcry over the deaths of unarmed African Americans at the hands of police.
The races of the man and the officer weren’t immediately released.
But local official Khalif Rainey, who represents the area where the disturbances took place, called the violence a “warning cry”.
“This entire community has sat back and witnessed how Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has become the worst place to live for African Americans in the entire country,” he said.
Police with shields and helmets moved slowly into an intersection later that evening, telling a crowd of about 50 people to disperse. Protesters threw rocks and other debris at police, who held up their shields. At least two bus shelters had been thrown into the street, with their glass shattered.
Protesters also began throwing objects at a business a half-block from the intersection. A nearby traffic light was bent over.
Police tweeted that shots had been fired and arrests were being made.
It was at least the second confrontation at the intersection, following an earlier standoff involving more than 100 people pushing against 20 to 30 officers. Officers got in their cars to leave at one point and some in the crowd started smashing a squad car’s windows. Another police car was set on fire.
The Police Department tweeted that one officer was taken to a hospital after he was struck by a brick thrown through his squad car window. Police also tweeted that a gas station had been set on fire. They said firefighters couldn’t extinguish the blaze because gunshots were being fired.
The shooting that sparked the tensions occurred Saturday afternoon after officers stopped a car with two people inside.
Police Captain Mark Stanmeyer said that the two people in the car got out and ran and that the officers chased them. He said a man who was one of the people fleeing was armed with a handgun and was shot by an officer during the pursuit. He said the man died at the scene.
The man’s name wasn’t immediately released. Stanmeyer said he had an arrest record, and that the handgun he carried had been stolen in a March burglary in suburban Waukesha.
The 24-year-old officer who shot the man has been placed on administrative duty. The officer’s name wasn’t immediately released. He has been with the Milwaukee department six years, three as an officer.
The United States has been on edge for weeks following shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Those attacks followed anger among the black community over the shooting deaths of African-American suspects by white police in Minnesota and Louisiana.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse