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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Milwaukee: Riots Break out after Cop Shoots Armed Black Man

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Aug 15
  • Comments

Riots broke out in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Saturday night, following a police shooting of an armed black man earlier in the day.

The incident began when police pulled over Sylville Smith, 23, and another man around 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The two men fled the vehicle and the officers gave chase.

A police body camera shows that Smith was armed, and when one of the officer’s--also a black man--told him to drop his weapon, he refused to comply. The officer then shot Smith in the arm and the leg. Smith died from his injuries.

The shooting gave rise to violent protests Saturday night in Milwaukee’s north side. Businesses, including a BP gas station and a beauty salon, were burned and four officers and 17 civilians were injured.

Protesters reportedly chanted “ready for war,” and also “peace, peace, peace.”

City Alderman Khalif Rainey said the protests draw attention to Milwaukee’s racial issues which have been festering for some time.

"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."

The protests continued into Sunday when another officer and another civilian were injured.

Milwaukee Country Sheriff David Clarke gave a debriefing of the shooting, and following riots on Sunday. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett stated, “Last night was unlike anything I’ve seen. I hope I never see it again.” 

The officer who shot Smith has been placed on administrative duty while the case is being investigated. Smith had previously been arrested and the weapon he had at the time of the shooting was reportedly stolen earlier in the year.


Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Publication date: August 15, 2016