Riots and clashes with police took place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Saturday. It all began after a man was shot dead by an officer during a chase on foot. Police say the victim was armed with a handgun.
Crowds of angry African American protesters gathered near the scene of the police shooting. What at first seemed like a Black Lives Matter-style gathering soon got out of control, however.
Originally, several vehicles and a police car were set on fire. But the situation quickly got worse when rioters broke into a gas station and set it on fire.
Protesters were shooting guns near the gas station, thus, preventing authorities from extinguishing the fire, according to the Milwaukee Police Department.
Originally, police were responding to the disturbance in the Sherman and Auer areas, tweeting that “officers working on peacefully dispersing [the] crowd.”
Protesters then set fire to other properties, including a bank.
The riots intensified as more than 100 protesters challenged more than 20 police officers. Some of the rowdy protesters began smashing in the squad car windows.
According to Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, at least three arrests have been made.
The events leading up to Saturday night’s riots began when an unnamed police officer pulled over a car with two men inside, who then left the vehicle and attempted to run away. A chase ensued on foot, and police fired shots at one of the men, fatally wounding him. The 23-year-old, whose name has not been released, was allegedly in possession of a stolen handgun.
Officers, who had already left, returned to the scene, with many clad in riot gear. Several shots were allegedly fired into the air by some people in the crowd.
Shortly before the situation turned violent, a woman claiming to be the killed suspect’s relative, called on the people that had gathered to calm down.
“We don’t want anyone else to go to jail or get hurt,” she said, according to the outlet.
Despite her plea, the violence continued. One police officer suffered an injury when a brick was hurled at him through a squad car window. He is currently being treated at local hospital, police tweeted.
Following the encounter, the officer who fired the shots was placed on administrative leave and an investigation into his conduct was launched.
Milwaukee assistant police chief Bill Jessup said the man killed had “a lengthy arrest record” without specifying the nature of crimes.
The gun the suspect allegedly had with him was stolen in Waukesha in March, Jessup claimed, adding that some 500 rounds of ammunition had been stolen in that burglary overall .
Milwaukee has been experiencing a spike in violence over the past few days.
“As everyone knows, this was a very, very violent 24 hours in the city of Milwaukee,” Jessup noted, stressing that law enforcement were forced to make “split-second decisions.”
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