Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker activated the state's National Guard following violent protests in the wake of a fatal shooting involving a police officer. Protests on Saturday (13 August) left six businesses burned and four officers injured.
Police say that the suspect – whose death sparked the protests – was killed after fleeing a traffic stop and appeared to have a handgun on him. Police Chief Edward Flynn told reporters he was unsure what prompted the traffic stop but said the suspect's vehicle was "behaving suspiciously". Both the man killed and the officer who shot him are black, authorities said.
Flynn identified the suspect as 23-year-old Sylville K Smith, who reportedly had a "lengthy arrest record." According to CBS News, Mayor Tom Barrett said an image pulled from the officer's body camera reveals "without question" that Smith had a weapon on him when he was shot.
Protests took place in Milwaukee's predominantly black north side, CBS News reported. An officer was reportedly hit in the head with a brick and treated at a hospital. Police said three other officers were also injured.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a gas station, a BMO Harris Bank branch, a beauty supply store and an O'Reilly Auto Parts store were set on fire. Police later revealed that two other businesses were set on fire.
Walker said he called up the National Guard after receiving a request from Milwaukee County Sherrif David Clarke and discussing with Barrett and the Guard's leader. The National Guard will now be in place to help "upon request," the governor said.
Barrett and Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton pleaded for calm, with Barrett adding that there would be a strong police presence in the upcoming days. He also urged parents to keep an eye on their children after authorities found many young people involved in the disturbances taking to social media to encourage others.
"Our police officers are doing everything they can to restore order," Barrett said, according to the Journal Sentinel. "If you love your son, if you love your daughter, text them, call them, pull them by their ears, get them home."
Walker praised residents who showed up at the protests area on Sunday (14 August) to clean up the neighbourhood. According to CBS News, he called for "continued peace and prayer." Volunteers reportedly cleaned and picked up debris the fires and violence left behind from the previous nights. Milwaukee Police said that 17 people were arrested during the protests.