After a night of rioting, things were calm Sunday morning but Gov. Scott Walker is not taking any chances. He has called out the National Guard. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Gov. Scott Walker activated the National Guard on Sunday to assist the Milwaukee Police Department upon request in the aftermath of violence in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood after a fatal police shooting.
Walker said he activated the guard after a request from Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. and conferring with Mayor Tom Barrett and Ma. Gen. Donald Dunbar.
Saturday night chaos erupted after dark in response to an officer involved shooting of 23-year-old Sylville Smith. CNN reports on the incident that led to the shooting:
It all started Saturday afternoon, when a pair of police officers stopped two people driving through the north-side neighborhood, police said. That led to a foot chase between the people in the car and police, which ended when an officer shot one of the two — a 23-year-old man who was armed with a handgun, authorities said.
The police officer “ordered that individual to drop his gun, the individual did not drop his gun,” Barrett said during a news conference later in the day. “He had the gun with him and the officer fired several times.”
Smith was hit twice, once in the arm and once in the chest. He died from his injuries. Later in the evening, several local businesses, including a gas station, were set on fire around 10pm. Firefighters responded but were not able to fight the fire because of gunshots.
Today the Journal-Sentinel reports Sylville Smith, the man killed by police Saturday, had been charged in a shooting incident last year, though he was not convicted:
The man shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer Saturday was charged last year in a shooting and then charged again, with trying to intimidate a witness in that same shooting, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has learned…
Smith was charged with first-degree recklessly endangering safety, a felony, on Feb. 3, 2015. Details of the shooting were not immediately clear from the documents.
While that case was pending, Smith was charged with felony witness intimidation after prosecutors said he was intimidating the victim in the first case.
The police had recordings of Smith encouraging his girlfriend to threaten the witness in the case. The witness eventually did recant and the victim also became uncooperative:
The victim ultimately did file a statement recanting his identification of Smith as the shooter. Prosecutors moved to dismiss the witness intimidation charge in September 2015.
The shooting case moved forward to a jury trial in November 2015, but it ultimately was dismissed when the victim did not show up and was uncooperative, according to online court records.
Five people were shot and killed in Milwaukee in the 24-hours before the officer involved shooting. From an earlier Journal-Sentinel story:
“We had a horrible night last night,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Saturday afternoon.
The men, all between the ages of 21 and 36, were killed in three separate shootings that stretched from 6 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday. No suspects are in custody and no motives were disclosed in any of the homicides. The names of the victims haven’t been released.
Several other people were injured and hospitalized in the incidents.