Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker activated the National Guard on Sunday to help law enforcement if needed after approximately 100 individuals rioted the night before in Milwaukee over the fatal police shooting of an armed man.
“[I] have activated the Wisconsin National Guard to be in a position to aid local law enforcement upon request,” Walker said in a press release announcing the decision.
The decision, made in conjunction with Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and Adjutant General Donald Dunbar, came after four businesses were torched in a riot triggered by the shooting of an armed man who fled police at a traffic stop.
Neither the race nor identity of the man shot had been released at the time of the demonstration, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal has reported the man’s identity as Sylville Smith. The paper reports that Smith had a lengthy arrest record, including charges for a shooting and trying to intimidate a witness of the same shooting.
The Sherman Park neighbourhood of Milwaukee, where the National Guard was called to, is a predominantly black, lower-income neighbourhood with a reputation for crime, Reuters noted. The neighbourhood has been calm throughout Sunday however. The state is investagating the incident.
Walker said he would “not comment on the specifics of the case” during the probe.
“I do, however, hope people will give law enforcement the respect they deserve for working so hard to keep us safe,” he said.
Walker also thanked the individuals who assisted Sunday morning in cleaning the streets.
“This act of selfless caring sets a powerful example for Milwaukee’s youth and the entire community,” he said. “I join Milwaukee’s leaders and citizens in calling for continued peace and prayer.”
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