Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has activated the National Guard to assist with potential riots erupting in Milwaukee. The police killing of an armed suspect in a predominantly black neighborhood had sparked protests.
Governor Scott Walker said Sunday he had decided to take the step after receiving a request from Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and after consulting with Mayor Tom Barrett and National Guard Adjutant General Donald Dunbar. His announcement specified that the National Guard would be "in a position to aid local law enforcement upon request."
At least four businesses were burned down and one police officer was hurt after violence broke out a few hours after the officer-involved shooting on August 13. A number of cars were also reportedly set on fire and three of the protesters were arrested. The protests took place in the impoverished Sherman Park neighborhood on the city's predominantly black north side.
Governor Walker meanwhile also praised citizens who helped to clean up the north-side neighborhood where the violence and protest took place. Police presence in the area remained low for the time being.
Police said the man involved in the shooting had a handgun when he was shot fatally while trying to run away after being stopped by the police. The Milwaukee Police Department said only that he was 23 years old, had a lengthy criminal record and was carrying a stolen loaded handgun when he was pulled over for unspecified "suspicious activity."
A second suspect who fled from the scene was quickly taken into custody.
The officer who shot dead the first suspect was placed on administrative duty pending an investigation by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office, police said and added that the 24-year-old officer was wearing a body camera, which would help with the investigation.
The race of the victim and of the officer involved weren't released. The officer has reportedly been with the Milwaukee department for six years, three of which he spent as an officer.
Repeat trouble in Milwaukee
Police violence against African Americans has sparked protests in many US cities in the past two years, with outrage over the killings giving rise to the "Black Lives Matter" movement. From Baltimore, Maryland, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the US has seen a growing number of black Americans dying at the hands of local law enforcement officials in the recent past.
Milwaukee has also seen its share of protests before, after an officer fatally shot Dontre Hamilton, a mentally ill black man, in 2014. Calls for a review of police practices are also growing in the midwestern city, as the latest shooting is already being regarded a repeat incident.
The National Guard was last deployed in a similar fashion in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014 after several nights of rioting over the police killing of an unarmed black man there.
ss/tj (AP, Reuters)