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Milwaukee protests against police killing continue for second day

By staff |
August 15, 2016
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Milwaukee vigil at the scene of the police shooting of Sylville Smith
Milwaukee vigil at the scene of the police shooting of Sylville Smith (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Milwaukee, WI - The response to the Aug. 13 police killing of a young African American man is continuing here. At 8 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 14, over 100 community members showed up for a community cleanup called for by the Coalition for Justice.

On Saturday night multiple businesses were burned down, bus shelters were destroyed and police cars smashed. The Milwaukee Fire Department said they responded to 74 fires during the protests on Saturday.

All day Sunday the entire area around Sherman Park was bustling with activists, national media, faith community and neighbors.

Small and scattered protests happened around the Sherman Park neighborhood throughout the day. In the afternoon, dozens of protesters marched to the 7th District police station, which had been boarded up and barricaded. Police say the building was the target of gunfire Saturday night.

The burned-down BP station on the corner of Sherman Boulevard and Burleigh Street, which was the target of a protest and boycott weeks earlier, was surrounded by caution tape and police. Preachers from different religious groups were set up on both sides of the station, as well as across the street.

City buses full of police were on standby near the park, and there was a heavy police presence throughout the neighborhood.

Milwaukee County Sheriff and Fox News regular David Clarke called for the National Guard to be activated after Saturday's rebellion, and on Sunday morning Governor Scott Walker granted his request and declared the situation a state of emergency.

At 6:45 p.m. Saturday evening there was a vigil at the scene of the police shooting of Sylville Smith that sparked the protest the day before. 400 people gathered for the vigil and prayer service. Donations were collected for the family, and candles and balloons were left on the memorial site. Family members spoke, expressing their pain to the crowd. Local politicians and clergy repeatedly called for calm, while another community member who spoke said "last night they seen what we're capable of," and called for continued, organized action to demand justice.

By 8 p.m. there were several gatherings in the area happening simultaneously. A march led by the Nation of Islam took about 400 people around Sherman Park. Protesters chanted, "The cops in my hood ain't no good," and "Who can you trust? Not the police!" The march ended with a rally. State Senator Lena Taylor called for the community to support the family of Sylville Smith.

At 10 p.m. hundreds of protesters were still present at the scene, many marching in the streets and giving speeches. At press time police in riot gear began to move in closer than they had all day long. Fight Back! will continue to report on the any further developments.

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