Hannah Parry and Valerie Edwards, Daily Mail, August 15, 2016
Milwaukee’s mayor and police chief announced Monday that body cam video supports the shooting of Sylville Smith–which sparked riots across the city.
At least one person was shot as police clashed with protesters during a second night of riots after Smith, 23, was shot dead by a police officer on Saturday.
But Milwaukee Police Chief Edward A Flynn insists the footage makes it clear that the shooting was lawful.
He said that Smith was shot after he turned toward an officer and raised his gun.
Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, speaking at a press conference on Monday, added that a still from the cop’s body camera shows ‘without question’ Smith had a gun in his hand.
Barrett said that Smith had ‘more firepower than the officer’, and his handgun was loaded with 23 rounds, which he refused to drop when ordered by police.
Flynn said that his officers had pulled over Smith after they noticed the driver was ‘behaving suspiciously’.
Police wore their body cameras as they approached the vehicle and within 20 to 25 seconds Smith, who had a lengthy rap sheet, was dead.
After watching the officer’s body camera footage, Flynn said Smith had run ‘a few dozen feet’ and turned toward the officer while holding a gun.
‘It was in his hand. He was raising up with it,’ the chief said.
He said the officer had told Smith to drop the gun and he did not do so.
It was unclear how many rounds the officer fired. Smith was hit in the chest and arm, Flynn said.
Flynn said his officer, who is black, feared for his life before shooting Smith, who was also black.
The officer involved has been on the force for three years, according to the department. He’s been placed on administrative duty.
The police chief said he was hopeful that the body cam footage would be released soon which he hoped would help calm the riots.
He believes the shooting was a flashpoint for underlying tensions, adding that people outside the neighborhood were using the incident for their own agendas.
Milwaukee saw a second night of rioting Sunday which resulted in an 18-year-old man being shot in the neck during unrest on the city’s north side. He is expected to survive his injuries.
Officers used an armored vehicle to retrieve the injured victim and take the person to a hospital.
A cop was also injured and taken to the hospital after a thrown rock broke the windshield of a squad car near Sherman Boulevard and Burleigh Avenue, the Milwaukee Police Department tweeted.
The National Guard had to be brought in to try and quell the unrest while today they imposed a 10pm curfew for teenagers.
The crowd of protesters marched through the neighborhood where Smith was killed by a 24-year-old officer Saturday afternoon.
Some two dozen officers in riot gear confronted the protesters who blocked an intersection near where Smith was fatally shot.
Police moved in to try to disperse the crowd and warned of arrests after protesters threw bottles and rocks at police.
Mayor Barrett has called for calm in the city as he pleaded with residents to ‘not do further damage to this great neighborhood’.
In a press conference on Monday, he said authorities will not tolerate further violence and vandalism.
‘We’re going to make sure there’s peace and order restored to this neighborhood,’ he told reporters.
‘The fact that you have some angry people that want to cause problems is something that we will not tolerate.’
Authorities had maintained a low key presence near businesses that were destroyed by fires on Saturday.
About a dozen officers guarded the BP gas station, while others stood in the shadows at a nearby park.
President Obama, who is on vacation at Martha’s Vineyard where he was seen playing golf yesterday, has not yet commented on the shooting or subsequent unrest.
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel issued a statement Sunday saying that his department would ‘work expeditiously to ensure a thorough and transparent gathering of the facts’.
Meanwhile, Smith’s father, Patrick Smith, said he blames himself for his son’s death.
‘When they see the wrong role model, this is what you get.
‘Being on the street, doing things of the street life: Entertaining, drug dealing and pimping and they’re looking at their dad like “he’s doing all these things”.
‘I got out of jail two months ago, but I’ve been going back and forth in jail and they see those things so I’d like to apologize to my kids because this is the role model they look up to.
‘Now somebody got killed reaching for his wallet, but now they can say he got a gun on him and they reached for it. And that’s justifiable,’ Patrick Smith told FOX 6.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Smith received the two charges following a shooting last year, but the details of that shooting were not immediately clear. The charges were later dismissed.
From jail Smith called his girlfriend and asked her to pressure a victim into recanting their previous statement, according to the Journal-Sentinel.
‘When they get this letter, this (expletive) gone, then my case should be out of here,’ Smith said in one call to his girlfriend.
Smith made several calls asking his girlfriend to stay on top of the victim. The victim later filed a statement recanting their previous identification of Smith as the perpetrator.
Despite the recorded phone calls prosecutors dropped the charges.
It is unclear why this decision was made.
Most of Smith’s other charges were mostly for non-violent misdemeanors including speeding, retail theft and THC possession, the New York Daily News reported.
Smith’s father Patrick Smith said: ‘I don’t know when we’re gonna start moving. I’ve gotta start with my kids and we gotta change our ways, to be better role models.
‘And we gotta change ourselves. We’ve gotta talk to them, put some sense into them.
‘They targeting us, but we know about it so there’s no reason to keep saying it’s their fault.’
Mildred Haynes, Smith’s mother, said she has been told very little about the death of her son, who was father to a two-year-old boy.
‘My son is gone due to the police killing my son. I am lost,’ Haynes said.
Haynes said her son had recently gotten his concealed carry license because he had been shot twice and robbed four times, the Journal-Sentinel reported.
During one robbery he was stripped of all of his clothing.
She said she doesn’t think Smith pulled a gun on police but she does think he might have run from the officer and tried to hide.
Smith’s godmother, Katherine Mahmoud, told the Journal Sentinel: ‘I’m not going to say he was an angel. He was out here living his life.’
She said that the family had nothing to do with the overnight riots and they’re ‘not very happy about it’.
On Sunday, the Milwaukee County sheriff asked for help from the National Guard after violence broke out in Milwaukee in response to police shooting Smith.
Family and friends of Smith gathered on Sunday in the area where he was shot and killed.
Smith’s younger sister, Sherelle Smith, 22, told the Journal-Sentinel that her brother carried a gun because he was scared and needed to protect himself, not because he was violent.
She said he was known around the neighborhood for his style and dance moves.
‘He was a ladies’ man. That’s the worst thing about him,’ she said.
Supporters surrounded 24-year-old Kimberly Neal, who is Smith’s older sister, as she held a bouquet of blue balloons during the vigil held for her brother near the spot where he was killed.
She asked the crowd for donations for his burial. Neal said that she just hopes her family gets justice and wants prosecutors to file charges against the officer.
When she was asked about the violence on Saturday night, Neal said: ‘People stuck together and they are trying to stand up,’ for their rights.
After the vigil, protesters went across the street to the ruins of a gas station destroyed in the violence and began singing hymns.
Violent protests erupted in Milwaukee after more than 100 people gathered in a standoff with police following the shooting of Smith after a traffic stop and foot chase on Saturday.
Police said Smith was armed with a handgun, but Assistant Chief Bill Jessup told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that it wasn’t immediately clear whether the man had pointed a gun or fired at the officer.
They described Smith as a suspect, but didn’t say what led to the traffic stop.
The violence exploded near North Sherman Boulevard and West Burleigh Street after the traffic stop about a block away, on the 3200 block of North 44th Street.
Some people in the crowd wore riot gear as they stood in the standoff with police, several hours after the shooting, according to the Journal-Sentinel.
Officers got in their cars to leave at one point and some in the crowd started smashing a squad car’s windows. Another police car was set on fire.
Several other vehicles were also set on fire.
The police department tweeted that one officer was taken to a hospital after he was struck by a brick thrown through his squad car window.
Police also tweeted that a BP gas station had been set on fire.
Initially firefighters were unable to extinguish the blaze because gunshots were being fired.
A total of six buildings were set on fire, including the gas station, according to WISN.
The shooting that sparked the tensions occurred about 3.30pm after officers stopped a car with two people inside.
Police Capt Mark Stanmeyer said in a news release that the two people in the car got out and ran and the officers chased them.
He said Smith, who was one of the people fleeing, was armed with a handgun and was shot by an officer during the pursuit. He said the man died at the scene.
Stanmeyer said he had an arrest record, and that the handgun he carried had been stolen in a March burglary in suburban Waukesha.
During the unrest a 16-year-old was shot and injured, four officers were injured and have been released from the hospital.
Seventeen arrests were made.
The shooting happened about one block from the scene of a Friday evening homicide, and about four blocks from a Saturday morning double homicide, according to the Journal-Sentinel.
Five people were killed in shooting-related homicides within nine hours between Friday night and Saturday morning.