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Wis. governor activates National Guard after Milwaukee unrest

Luke Skywalker

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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says the north side is calming after violence in the wake of a police shooting that left one man dead. (Aug. 14) AP

Residents pray for peace while holding hands in a circle,next to the burned out BP gas station at 3114 N. Sherman Blvd. in Milwaukee.(Photo: Michael Sears / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

MILWAUKEE — <span style="color: Red;">*</span>Gov. Scott Walker activated the National Guard on Sunday to assist the Milwaukee Police Department upon request in the aftermath of violence in Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood after a fatal police shooting.
Walker said he activated the guard after a request from Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. and conferring with Mayor Tom Barett and<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Major Gen. Donald Dunbar.
The development came as a<span style="color: Red;">*</span>sense of calm and order returned<span style="color: Red;">*</span>to the neighborhood Sunday morning after a night when businesses were torched, cars overturned and set ablaze and gunfire erupted following the<span style="color: Red;">*</span>fatal police shooting.
By mid-morning Sunday, the area near N. Sherman Blvd. and W. Burleigh St.<span style="color: Red;">*</span><span style="color: Red;">*</span>was clogged with onlookers, in cars and on foot, but the area soon swelled with people showing up to clean up trash from the unrest the night before.
MPD is restoring order to the area of Sherman and Burleigh and reducing deployments.
— Milwaukee Police (@MilwaukeePolice) August 14, 2016

Shortly after 7 a.m. CST, people were showing up at the scene to pitch in on the cleanup, some even crossed the police tape into the gas station, which was not being guarded by police, and started picking up trash. Officers ushered them out and the cleanup continued near the station and in the surrounding blocks.
Mark Hale, 52, who works third-shift at the Hilton hotel downtown, said he was driving home and stopped by on his own to pick up trash.
“Instead of being part of the problem, I wanted to be part of the solution,” he said. “I figured if I started picking up trash, other people might do the same.”
A Milwaukee police officer walks near the scene of the burned gas station at N. Sherman Blvd. and W. Burleigh St.<span style="color: Red;">*</span>(Photo: Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Hale, who is black and has lived in the city his whole life, said he attributed the fires at<span style="color: Red;">*</span>businesses and squad cars to “a lot of idiots who don’t have jobs and don’t want to have jobs.”
Hale said he has four grown children, three of whom are in training or studying to be in law enforcement.
“Point blank, I support the police,” he said, adding from what he has heard the officer who shot the suspect was justified.
MPD officer undergoing treatment at local hospital after brick thrown through squad window, striking officer in the head.
— Milwaukee Police (@MilwaukeePolice) August 14, 2016

In earlier statements, Milwaukee police said an officer shot and killed an armed man who was fleeing a traffic stop about 3:30 p.m. Saturday.<span style="color: Red;">*</span>The officer ordered the man to drop his gun and when the man did not, the officer fired, wounding the man twice, once in the chest and once in the arm, Barrett said.
At a Sunday afternoon news conference, Milwaukee<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Police Chief Edward Flynn<span style="color: Red;">*</span>identified the man killed by the officer as Sylville K. Smith, 23. Flynn said the officer was wearing a body camera that showed Smith was armed, and that<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Smith turned toward the officer with the gun after being told to drop the weapon.
"I want the community to know that the individual had a gun," Mayor Tom Barrett said at the news conference.
Barrett said 125<span style="color: Red;">*</span>National Guard members had been<span style="color: Red;">*</span>activated, but would not be deployed unless Flynn determined they were needed.
Sources who wished to remain anonymous told<span style="color: Red;">*</span>The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Sunday that the police officer who fatally shot Smith on<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Saturday is black.
After an hours-long confrontation with officers, police reported at 10:15 p.m. that a gas station at N. Sherman Blvd. and W. Burleigh St. was set on fire. Police said firefighters could not for a time get close to the blaze because of gunshots. Later, fires were started at businesses —<span style="color: Red;">*</span>including a BMO Harris Bank branch, a beauty supply company and O'Reilly Auto Parts stores — according to city officials. Flynn said Sunday six businesses were set on fire.
The burned out remains of the Jet Beauty store are shown Sunday near N. 35th and W. Burleigh streets in Milwaukee. After a police officer shot and killed an armed suspect after a foot chase Saturday, a gas station, a beauty supply store, a bank and an auto parts store were set ablaze in violence related to the shooting.<span style="color: Red;">*</span>(Photo: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

On Sunday morning, dozens of people gathered in Sherman Park and formed a prayer circle. After a<span style="color: Red;">*</span>prayer, people fanned out to help clean up the neighborhood streets. The effort was led by the Coalition for Justice, a<span style="color: Red;">*</span><span style="color: Red;">*</span>grass-roots organization that formed after the police shooting of Dontre Hamilton.
"Yesterday was a cry out for respect," said Nate Hamilton, brother of Dontre Hamilton who was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer in 2014.
"When you're hurting you hurt back," he said.
A group of clergy also joined the efforts Sunday morning.
"This may look like a graveyard, but dozens of faith & community leaders are out cleaning up. This is our Milwaukee!" Pastor Alexis Twito said on Twitter. Twito is the head coordinator for the Salvation Army's chaplaincy program that responds to traumatic events across the city.
Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton said organizations that work in the Sherman Park neighborhood have begun outreach in the community, and that city officials,<span style="color: Red;">*</span>including the mayor, police and community leaders, are scheduled to meet at noon Monday.
"What we want is to make sure now that this does not spread to other parts of the city," Hamilton said Sunday morning. "And we'll be sharing information with the community so they are aware of what's going on and understand that things will be moving forward."
A car burns as a crowd of more than 100 people gathers following the fatal shooting of a man in Milwaukee, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016.<span style="color: Red;">*</span>(Photo: Calvin Mattheis, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Alderman<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Khalif Rainey, who represents the neighborhood where the incident occurred, had suggested that failure to deal with the frustrations of Milwaukee's black residents — poverty, jobless, lack of opportunity — could lead to unrest elsewhere in the city, including downtown where hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in redevelopment.
"We need to continue to address the issues that people are frustrated by," Hamilton said.<span style="color: Red;">*</span>"People want to feel like they're getting a fair shake."
Others, interviewed in person at the park, also pointed to gun violence roiling the city. Five men were killed in three separate shootings that occurred Friday evening and into early Saturday.
"We cannot blame the police for what is happening," said the Rev. Jeffery Hawkins of Westside Missionary Baptist Church.
"I can understand we get upset when police kill one of ours but who is getting upset when we kill ourselves?<span style="color: Red;">*</span>That's where our anger should be."
Another woman at the scene said the unrest was the result of years of members of the black community being victimized by the police.
“They have been taking our folks for too long,” she said. “This is a rights issue.”
Three teenage friends who live in the area came out to clean. They all said a lack of good education and jobs had boiled over in the fires. And while they didn’t defend what happened, they weren’t surprised.


Shots ring out near the scene of an officer-involved shooting Saturday. Aaron Mak

“It’s energy that just keeps building up and it boiled over,” said Naeem Hunter, 18.
Tony Whitley Jr., a pastor at Resurrection Life Worship Center<span style="color: Red;">*</span>said he doesn’t attribute the unrest to police relations but rather to a generation of young people who have not been parented and who have needs that are not being met.
He said it is a calling for churches including his own to go into the homes to help address those needs.
“We have to take responsibility. We can’t say it is the police or whatever,” he said. “We have grandparents who are in their 20s and 30s and that’s a problem. This is the result of unparented kids with no values or morals. They are hurting.”
A group of about 30 people gathered at the O'Reilly Auto Parts store Sunday morning to help clean up after the store was set<span style="color: Red;">*</span>on fire overnight. The only things left standing were the outer was the outdoor walls and a sign showing significant burn marks.
Jimmie Butler, the store's commercial manager, woke up to a call Sunday morning from a friend who told him the store was burned down.
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"It's sad. Despite what's going on, O'Reilly didn't do anything" to warrant the destruction, Butler said.
He said he's not sure if the store will be rebuilt.
Bernard King was going from store to store with his son and a few other boys from the neighborhood to help clean up locations that were burned down Saturday night.
King and other people that were cleaning up damage at O'Reilly expressed frustration over a lack of job opportunities for youths in the area.
"We need to bring livable wage jobs into the community," King said. "Then people would feel good about working and they don't have time to get into mischief and criminal activity. What's the point of having a high school diploma when there's nothing for kids to do after?"
Louise Kidd lives near the auto parts store and decided not to go to church Sunday morning so she could help with the damage control.
"If we don't get at the table and talk about<span style="color: Red;">*</span>youth needs for education and training, this is only going to be the beginning," Kidd said. "We gotta do better. For the whole city to succeed, this community needs to succeed too."
The Rev. Jesse<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Jackson called Sunday for a White House conference on violence, poverty and racial disparities to address problems in the urban centers of<span style="color: Red;">*</span>cities such as Milwaukee, Baltimore and Chicago.
"There is no current plan for urban reconstruction. We simply wait for these outbursts of pain," Jackson said late<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Sunday morning in a call to the Journal Sentinel to comment on the aftermath of the Milwaukee violence.
Asked if the violence like that in Milwaukee on Saturday<span style="color: Red;">*</span>hurts efforts to<span style="color: Red;">*</span>rebuild cities, Jackson said: "It does. But when people are in pain, you must understand them. You can't tell people who are hurting how to holler. People in Milwaukee are hurting."
Jackson cited the five homicides in Milwaukee late Friday and early Saturday, saying: "That's just a prelude. You're living on a powder keg. At some point, how do you defuse it? You can't just defuse it with advice."
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