Sunday, August 14, 2016

Protesters Rebel While Filling Station, Cars Burn After Fatal Officer-involved Shooting in Milwaukee
14 Aug, 2016 02:39

Riots and clashes with police have been reported in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after a man was shot dead by an officer during a chase on foot on Saturday. Police say the victim was armed with a handgun.

Scores of angry African American protesters gathered near the scene of the police shooting at Sherman Boulevard. What at first seemed like a Black Lives Matter-style gathering, however, soon got out of control.

Several vehicles, including a police car, were set on fire, and a crowd of rioters then proceeded to break into and loot a gas station. It was then seemingly set alight too. An eyewitness nicknamed EX414 livestreamed the escalating violence on his Ustream channel.

Shots are being fired near the gas station preventing police from extinguishing the fire there, the Milwaukee Police Department said on its Twitter account. Earlier, police said they were responding to the disturbance in the Sherman and Auer areas, tweeting about “officers working on peacefully dispersing [the] crowd.”

Over 100 protesters confronted a line of 20 to 30 officers, Journal Sentinel reported. As the officers sat in their cars and were about to leave, some participants of the impromptu rally began hitting on the cars’ windows, smashing them.

The officers who had already left then returned to the scene, many of them clad in riot gear. Several shorts were allegedly fired by some of the crowd in the air.

Shortly before the situation turned violent, a woman, allegedly the killed suspect’s relative, called on the people 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 with one of the police officers suffering an injury after a brick was hurled at him through the squad car window. He is being treated at local hospital at the moment, police tweeted.

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 started on foot and police fired shots at one of the men, fatally wounding him. The 23-year-old, whose name has not been revealed, allegedly possessed a handgun that had been determined as being stolen, police spokesman Capt. Mark Stanmeyer told the media.

Following the incident, 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 told Sentinal that the man killed had “a lengthy arrest record” without specifying the nature of crimes.

The gun the suspect had been carrying was stolen in March in Waukesha, Jessup claimed, adding that overall some 500 rounds of ammunition had been stolen in that burglary.

Milwaukee has been experiencing a spike in violence in the last 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.”

On Friday, a homicide was reported in the area just one block away from the shooting. On Saturday, a double homicide took place some four blocks from the site. In total, five people were killed in incidents involving shootings within nine hours, in the lead-up to Saturday morning.

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