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Milwaukee Imposes Curfew to Quell Unrest After Police Shooting

  • Ken Bredemeier

A gas station is seen burned down after disturbances following the police shooting of a man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Aug. 14, 2016.

A gas station is seen burned down after disturbances following the police shooting of a man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Aug. 14, 2016.

City officials in the Midwestern U.S. city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, have imposed a 10 p.m. curfew for teenagers in the wake of two nights of rioting after a black man was killed by police Saturday.

"Parents, after 10 o'clock, your teenagers better be home, or in a place where they're off the streets," Mayor Tom Barrett said at a news conference Monday. He also said that officials had spoken to the city attorney's office to be prepared in case they decide a "more widespread curfew" is needed.

Barrett made the announcement as tensions remained high and police were out in force while the National Guard was on standby and ready to move in if necessary.

The Milwaukee Police Department said that an 18-year-old man was shot during the protests Sunday, and an armored vehicle was used to take him to a hospital. But there was no repeat of the widespread destruction of property that occurred Saturday, when at least six businesses were torched and destroyed.

A man attends to young man who was shot during disturbances following the police shooting of a man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Aug. 14, 2016.

A man attends to young man who was shot during disturbances following the police shooting of a man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Aug. 14, 2016.

Officers ordered people to disperse Sunday, and reported having rocks and other objects thrown at them, with four law enforcement personnel injured. The department also said 14 people were arrested.

Saturday’s protests

Similar protests erupted Saturday, after an officer shot a 23-year-old black man who police say pointed a gun at the officer.

Police Chief Edward Flynn says 23-year-old Sylville Smith ran from a car after it was stopped for what authorities described as suspicious behavior.

The chief said Smith ran for several meters, then pointed his weapon at the officer before the 24-year-old policeman, who is also black, fired his gun.

Video exists

Mayor Barrett said the officer was wearing a body camera during the altercation, and the video will be made public "at the appropriate time."

Barrett said a still image from the video "demonstrates, without question, that he had a gun in his hand. And I want our community to know that."

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker activated about 125 members of the state's National Guard and placed them on standby in case of further violence, but they were not called in to help Milwaukee police.

Protesters march during disturbances following the police shooting of a man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Aug. 14, 2016.

Protesters march during disturbances following the police shooting of a man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Aug. 14, 2016.

Smith's sister, Kimberly Neal, told The Associated Press the family wants prosecutors to file charges against the officer.

Previous concerns

Milwaukee's police department was also the subject of protests in 2014 after an officer killed a mentally ill, unarmed black man.

Last December, the U.S. Justice Department announced it was conducting a review of the department. The listed objectives of the probe included assessing efforts to recruit officers representative of the Milwaukee community, use of force practices, and how officers are trained in conducting traffic stops.

Milwaukee has a population of about 600,000 people, with nearly 40 percent African-American — many of whom are heavily concentrated on the north side of the city.

Smith's shooting happened in the Sherman Park neighborhood in north Milwaukee. Residents there say the city has been unresponsive to their needs.

Alderman Khalif Rainey, who represents Sherman Park, says Milwaukee's black residents are "tired of living under this oppression."

Rainey said he does not condone violence, "but nobody can deny that there are racial problems here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that have to be rectified."

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