The rioters in Milwaukee last night got a taste of mob violence and Governor Scott Walker isn’t taking any chances they’ll go back for seconds.
Walker activated the Wisconsin National Guard at the request of Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who has gained a reputation as a tough, no-nonsense law enforcement officer. He once told the citizens of Milwaukee that since police couldn’t protect them, they should purchase firearms. He has also been a frequent critic of Black Lives Matter.
What separates this incident from other recent tragedies is that 1) the man shot by police was armed; 2) the officer who shot the man was black.
Officials identified the dead man as Sylville K. Smith, 23, and Flynn said a video from a police officer’s body camera showed Smith turning toward the officer with a gun in his hand. Smith did not drop it as ordered before he was shot, Mayor Tom Barrett added.
Smith had a lengthy arrest record, Barrett said, and officials said earlier he was carrying a stolen handgun loaded with 23 rounds of ammunition when stopped for unspecified “suspicious activity.”
The name of the officer who shot Smith was not released but Flynn said he was black. Photos in local media identified Smith as also being African-American.
Police presence in Sherman Park was low on Sunday afternoon, with some residents milling around and others cleaning up debris. But officials were planning for what might come.
Walker announced the National Guard activation after a request from Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who met with Walker and Wisconsin National Guard Adjutant General Donald Dunbar.
Walker said the Guard would be “in a position to aid local law enforcement upon request” and Mayor Tom Barrett said it would not be deployed unless police requested it.
Violence attracts goons and thugs from all over. The prospect of burning, looting, and beating people up draws mostly young black men from hundreds of miles away. I suspect that things will be worse tonight with the violence coming mostly from outsiders.