Saturday night, the City of Milwaukee was set afire with violence and rioting after the shooting of a Black suspect by police. According to reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the man killed by police has been identified as 23-year-old Sylville Smith who had a “lengthy arrest record.” The shooting took place after Smith was seen fleeing a traffic stop on Milwaukee’s north side Saturday afternoon. The officers approached Smith who was armed. The shooting took place on the North side of Milwaukee.
Investigators said the man’s gun came from a burglary in the neighboring town of Waukesha. The owner of the gun said 500 rounds of ammunition were also stolen. Within hours of the shooting, angry crowds, communicating with each other through social media, took to the streets, smashing a police car and setting fire to another. One officer was injured by a flying brick; a gas station and auto-parts store were set alight. Police said gunshots were heard.
Sunday morning, the Mayor of Milwaukee Tom Barrett called for peace at an early morning news conference. He called on residents to stay placed at home telling parents, “If you love your son, if you love your daughter, text them, call them, pull them by the ears and get ’em home.” Continuing the Mayor said that the shooting took place after the police officer involved, who has been on the force for years, “ordered that individual to drop his gun. The individual did not drop his gun, held the gun, or I don’t know that for a fact, but had the gun with him. The officer shot several times. The individual was shot in the chest and one in the arm.” The Mayor also said the officer was wearing a body-camera and according to the Mayor “It is my understanding that the body camera was operating.”
The father of Smith spoke to FOX6’s A.J. Bayatpour and poured his heart out over the death of his son and the riots that are occurring. He emphasized that violence is not the answer and apologized to his own children for his shortcomings as a father who also had spent time in jail. Smith stated that “I’ve been going back and forth in jail and they see those things so I’d like to apologize to my kids because this is the role model they look up to. When they see the wrong role model, this is what you get.” Patrick Smith did blame the police for the deaths of other black men at their hands saying that, “Now somebody got killed reaching for his wallet, but now they can say he got a gun on him and they reached for it. And that’s justifiable.
Patrick Smith cautioned thought that “when we allowed them to say guns is good and it’s legal, we can bear arms. This is not the wild, wild west y’all.” Continuing the elder Smith told of how changes have to be made, saying that, “I’ve gotta start with my kids and we gotta change our ways, to be better role models. And we gotta change ourselves. We’ve gotta talk to them, put some sense into them.” Yet smith also said of the police, “They targeting us, but we know about it so there’s no reason to keep saying it’s their fault. You play a part in it. If you know there’s a reason, don’t give in to the hand, don’t be going around with big guns, don’t be going around shooting each other and letting them shoot y’all cause that’s just what they’re doing and they’re out to destroy us and we’re falling for it.”
As for the fear of more violence tonight, Governor Scott Walker has activated the National Guard to assist Milwaukee law enforcement. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke requested the National Guard earlier Sunday, saying he would “not allow for a repeat of what happened last night.
Agnes Bedard calls herself a daughter of the 60's. She stills believe that one voice can lead us out of darkness, that one person can start a change, and that one act of kindness can change one person's world. Politics is how the world works to change and that is why she is so passionate about it. As Agnes said we need to fight for our f.uture. Agnes Bedard is also the author of "Before I was Me" Bedard is also a wife, mother and grandmother