Protests Turn To Chaos Trying To Injure Police One In The Hospital With Gunshot Wound
An 18-year-old man was shot and seriously injured while involved in protests Sunday night in Milwaukee. Police used an armored vehicle to retrieve the man from the crowd and get him to the hospital. Police say the evening started quiet but turned violent quickly.
Protesters blocked the intersection where the fatal shooting occurred Saturday. A couple dozen police in riot gear confronted more than 150 protesters trying to get the crowd to disperse or face arrests. Protesters began throwing rocks and bottles at police, then shots were fired.
Earlier Sunday, police Chief Edward Flynn said the man whose death touched off Saturday night’s rioting was shot after he turned toward an officer with a gun in his hand.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker put the National Guard on standby for any repeat of violence. Protests were peaceful most of Sunday evening before the confrontation after 11 p.m.
Flynn cautioned that the shooting was still under investigation and authorities were awaiting autopsy results, but that based on the silent video from the unidentified officer’s body camera, he “certainly appeared to be within lawful bounds.”
At the same news conference, Mayor Tom Barrett said a still image pulled from the footage clearly showed a gun in 23-year-old Sylville K. Smith’s hand as he fled a traffic stop Saturday.
“I want our community to know that,” Barrett said. But he also called for understanding for Smith’s family.
“A young man lost his life yesterday afternoon,” the mayor said. “And no matter what the circumstances are, his family has to be hurting.”
Flynn declined to identify the officer who shot Smith but said he is black. The police chief said he wasn’t sure what prompted the stop but described Smith’s car as “behaving suspiciously.”
After watching the officer’s body camera footage, Flynn said the entire episode took about 25 seconds, from the start of the traffic stop until shots were fired. He said Smith ran “a few dozen feet” and turned toward the officer while holding a gun.