Following the fatal police shooting of Sylville Smith, 23, and in the midst of an extensive history of racial injustices, Milwaukee has had an intense weekend full of demonstrations, both peaceful and violent.
On Saturday night, hours after Smith was shot dead by a Milwaukee police officer, hundreds of people spilled out into the streets, leaving businesses burned in their wake. The night ended with four police injuries, 17 arrests, and six businesses burned down, according to CNN.
On Sunday night, smaller protests began to build up in various areas of the city. One demonstration blocked traffic around a police station. As of now, reports claim at least two people were injured after shots were fired during the protests. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker even felt the need to declare a state of emergency.
While some in the media and government simply write off these protests as rioting, city alderman Khalif Rainey called attention to the deep seated reasons behind the anger and violent demonstrations.
“What happened tonight may not have been right, and I am not justifying that, but no one can deny the fact that there are problems, racial problems in Milwaukee that need to be rectified,” Rainey said after Saturday’s protests. “This community of Milwaukee, Wisconsin has become the worst place to live for African-Americans in the entire country.”
“Something has to be done to address these issues,” he continued. “The black people of Milwaukee are tired; they are tired of living under this oppression, this is their life.”
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