Milwaukee shooting: 'Shots fired' at new protests over police killing

Shots have been fired during new protests in the US city of Milwaukee, police say, as demonstrators took to the streets for a second night.

Protests erupted on Saturday after Sylville Smith, 23, was shot dead in a police chase.

Mayor Tom Barrett said Smith, an African-American, did not drop a gun he was holding when told to do so.

Police violence against the black community in US cities in the past two years has prompted huge protests.

The Milwaukee Police Department tweeted that shots had been fired at several locations before and after midnight on Sunday local time.

Rocks were also thrown at police as they attempted to disperse crowds in the Burleigh area. Officers were making “multiple arrests” in the Sherman and Burleigh districts, police said.

One civilian had earlier been taken to hospital after he suffered a gunshot wound.

Local news footage also showed a car on fire.

On Saturday night, cars and buildings, including a petrol station, had been set ablaze.

Police in Milwaukee, in the state of Wisconsin, said Smith had fled from a car after being stopped by officers in traffic on Saturday afternoon; he died from his injuries at the scene.

Smith had a “lengthy arrest record”, police said on Sunday. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel newspaper reported he had been charged over a shooting and witness intimidation, charges that were eventually dropped.

Milwaukee police chief Edward Flynn did not say what prompted officers to stop Smith’s car, saying only that he was “behaving suspiciously”.

Footage of the shooting was captured by a body camera worn by the officer who fired the shots, who was African-American.

On Sunday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker made the National Guard available to Milwaukee police should more violence occur later in the day.

Khalif Rainey, who represents the area where the violence hit on Milwaukee’s city council, said people were “tired of living under this oppression” in a city that is 40% black.

“Now this is a warning cry,” he added. “Where do we go from here? Where do we go as a community from here?”

In 2014, police shot dead an unarmed black man, Dontre Hamilton, in Milwaukee, leading to protests in the city. Prosecutors chose not to charge the officer responsible.

In December, the US Justice Department said it would carry a full review of Milwaukee’s police department, at its request, to look into areas for improvement.

Mayor Barrett called for restraint, and understanding towards Smith’s family. “A young man lost his life yesterday afternoon,” he said. “And no matter what the circumstances are, his family has to be hurting.”

Source: BBC

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