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Milwaukee Imposes Curfew and Residents Survey Damage After Rioting

The shooting of a black man by a Milwaukee police officer led to violent riots over the weekend and the death of one protestor, according to The New York Times.

Around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, two police officers stopped a car with two people in it. Both the people fled the car. One of the officers caught up to 23-year-old Sylville Smith, one of the people in the car, and ordered Smith to drop his handgun. The officer fired at Smith when he failed to comply, hitting him in the arm and chest. Smith died at the scene.

The name of the officer has not been released, but Police Chief Edward Flynn said he is a 24-year-old black officer with “several years of experience.” The incident—from the time the officer removed his seatbelt to exit his patrol vehicle to the time when Smith was shot—took less than 30 seconds, Flynn told the Times.

Hundreds of mourners and protestors gathered in the Sherman Park neighborhood of Milwaukee Saturday evening, near where Smith was killed. Soon, violence and riots erupted, leading to the destruction of several businesses and vehicles.

Police say the violence continued on Sunday night, when gunfire broke out during protests in the neighborhood. One person was shot and taken by police to a nearby hospital. Reuters reports that police wore riot gear while protestors threw bricks and bottles, and four officers were injured.

Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency, and the National Guard was on call. On Monday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett imposed a 10 p.m. curfew on the city, according to Reuters, saying it would strictly enforced for teenagers.

Residents of the neighborhood were left to pick up the pieces after the violence over the weekend, but many understood why the riots happened.

“The black people of Milwaukee are tired,” Alderman Khalif J. Rainey told the Times. “They’re tired of living under this oppression.”

“This community has nothing. It’s a neglected community. To burn down something, to them, it meant, ‘Do you hear us now?’,” Nate Hamilton, who lost a brother to a police shooting in 2014, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

An investigation into the incident has been launched by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

Sarah is a senior journalism student at the University of Texas at Austin. She hopes to pursue a career in political journalism after graduation. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys cooking delicious food, spending time with friends, and playing with her adorable dog, Theodore. 
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