National Guard activated in Milwaukee after police killing
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker activated the National Guard yesterday to help police should further rioting erupt in a predominantly black Milwaukee neighbourhood where police killed an armed suspect.
The Sherman Park neighbourhood, which has a reputation for poverty and crime, appeared calm at midday yesterday after businesses were burned, cars set ablaze and gunshots fired overnight by demonstrators angered by the police killing.
Seventeen people were arrested in the disturbances, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn told a news conference yesterday. Four police officers were treated for injuries and released from hospitals.
Officials identified the dead man as Sylville K. Smith, 23, and Flynn said a video from a police officer's body camera showed Smith turning towards the officer with a gun in his hand. Smith did not drop it as ordered before he was shot, Mayor Tom Barrett added.
Smith had a lengthy arrest record, Barrett said, and officials said earlier he was carrying a stolen handgun loaded with 23 rounds of ammunition when stopped for unspecified "suspicious activity."
The name of the officer who shot Smith was not released but Flynn said he was black. Photos in local media identified Smith as also being African-American.
Police presence in Sherman Park was low on Sunday afternoon, with some residents milling around and others cleaning up debris. But officials were planning for what might come.
Walker announced the National Guard activation after a request from Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who met with Walker and Wisconsin National Guard Adjutant General Donald Dunbar.
Walker said the Guard would be "in a position to aid local law enforcement upon request", and Mayor Tom Barrett said it would not be deployed unless police requested it.