Officer-involved shooting sparks unrest in Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (CNN) — A deadly shooting of an armed man by Milwaukee police has stirred anger, fear and disbelief as authorities restore calm in the city after a night of violent protest.

Protesters burned several stores and threw rocks at police Saturday night on the city’s north side, leaving one officer injured and three protesters arrested. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said protesters had been using social media to draw more demonstrators.

Local officials planned to meet with church and community leaders Sunday to discuss ways to move forward.

“I never thought I would see my own city in a state of unrest and a potential riot,” a resident told CNN affiliate WDJT.

It all started Saturday afternoon, when a pair of police officers stopped two people driving through the north-side neighborhood, police said. That led to a foot chase between the people in the car and police, which ended when an officer shot one of the two — a 23-year-old man who was armed with a handgun, authorities said.

The police officer “ordered that individual to drop his gun, the individual did not drop his gun,” Barrett said during a news conference later in the day. “He had the gun with him and the officer fired several times.”

The man died at the scene. It was unclear Sunday morning whether the second occupant of the car was in police custody. The officer who fired the fatal shots was not injured and will be placed on administrative duty during an investigation.

The officer who fired the deadly shots is 24 years old and has six years of service with the Milwaukee Police Department — three as an officer. Police provided no further details on the identities of the officer or the occupants of the car.

The officer was wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting, Barrett said.

“This is a neighborhood that has unfortunately been affected by violence in the recent past,” Barrett said. The shooting occurred near the same place where a double homicide happened on August 9. In that incident a man was shot dead and another was fatally stabbed, police said.

City Alderman Khalif Rainey said the area has been a “powder keg” for potential violence throughout the summer.

“What happened tonight may not have been right and I am not justifying that but no one can deny the fact that there are problems, racial problems in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that need to be rectified,” Rainey said. “This community of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has become the worst place to live for African Americans in the entire country.”

Rainey said Saturday’s violence was a byproduct of inequities, injustice, unemployment and under-education.

“Something has to be done to address these issues,” he said. “The black people of Milwaukee are tired, they are tired of living under this oppression, this is their life.”

Go home, mayor pleads

As the chaos escalated Saturday, the mayor pleaded with protesters to end their demonstrations.

“If you love your son, if you love your daughter, text them, call them, pull them by the ears and get them home. Get them home right now before more damage is done,” the mayor said.

“I know this neighborhood very, very well. And there are a lot of really really good people who live in this area — in the Sherman Park area, who can’t stand this violence.”

At 3:20 a.m. Sunday, police tweeted they were restoring order and “reducing deployments.”

Police: Suspect had stolen gun

The unidentified suspect was shot twice, in the arm and chest, the mayor said. The handgun he carried had been stolen during a burglary in nearby Waukesha in March, according to police.

“The victim of that burglary reported 500 rounds of ammunition were also stolen with the handgun,” police said.

Any evidence from the body camera video will likely become a key part of the investigation, said CNN law enforcement analyst Cedric Alexander.

“We’re going to see over the next number of hours and the next number of days what information [investigators] feel comfortable releasing to the public, Alexander said. “It think it’s going to be essentially important to get out as much of that video, as long as it doesn’t jeopardize the integrity of the investigation.”

By state law, the Wisconsin Department of Justice will lead the investigation.

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14 comments

  • Jay

    What part of using your gun as a last option do you police not understand if our citizens Acted as scary as the police do with shot first ask questions later I can assure you that this type of behavior would not be happening. Last time I check murder /homicide was still highly illegal so can we start locking up these violent murdering police officers I personally have been involved in several altercations but yet none of them have ended up with anybody dying I have not had professional training to defend myself so what’s your excuse Mr. police officer ? A police officer’s job is not even in the top 10 for most dangerous jobs in America so if your police officers are too scared to go to work please find another job. Also just a FYI it is a felony for police officer to use the lights on his vehicle and less it’s for emergency that means every time the police pulls you over for a traffic violation he is committing a felony and don’t take my word for it look it up .

    • steve

      Jay, maybe the reason cops shoot first and as questions later is the same as people rioting first and asking questions later. In addition, why do many people continue to riot regardless of the outcome of any subsequent investigation.

    • Michael

      Just because you spout it off doesn’t make it true. The gun isn’t the “last option”. That isn’t the law and that isn’t the way our police are trained. It only has to be a reasonable option. The suspect had a stolen gun. He refused to drop said gun. The officer was reasonable in fearing for his life or the life of the public if the suspect were to get away. Sorry you don’t like the law but the officer complied with it.

      Also your comment about using the patrol vehicle’s lights to make a traffic stop is complete rubbish. MCL 257.698(5)(a) states, “a police vehicle shall be equipped with flashing, rotating, or oscillating red or blue lights, for the use in police duties”. Traffic stops are included in police duties.

      Isn’t being educated great?

  • Hateu

    If you have a weapon and don’t comply you’re a threat and will be taken out. Also fox 17, these weren’t protest they were riots and all 100 or so of them should be jailed

    • Chris

      That is what they said about original tea party. The real tea party trespassed private property and destroyed goods and set fire to boats. Protesting has always been about inequality noticed.

      • J.B.

        “The real tea party trespassed private property and destroyed goods and set fire to boats.”

        And the BLM people rob Footlocker, the local Weave & Liquor store, all while burning their own neighborhood to the ground..
        Yep, the “similarity’s” are shocking…
        i mean..it is soooo obviously the exact SAME thing!
        “good grief”.

  • NO PC FOR ME

    Neither of your read the story did you?
    The dead thug has a STOLEN gun and refused to drop it.

    Its not the police who are getting away with murder…

  • Jay

    I never agree with rioting I think it’s very ignorant for people to destroy where you live. we need to bring are Energy to the Union that is defending these criminals every Cop should be accountable for their actions but unfortunately are system set up now does not allow this to happen This is the only solution to fix The out-of-control police brutality we have going on I don’t believe a uneducated police officer should have the choice on who lives and who dies. ALL LIVES MATTER

  • Jay

    I happen to know for a fact they police strait lie in the reports I have had to come out of my own pocket to defend my innocence many times. so you are right I have very Little faith in police doing the right thing and I’m a White Male. maybe you should look when and why police started in the first place. this wouldn’t have to be a debate if the person shot was still alive to tell his part of the story to late I guess we will just go with the cops story