“This is not the way to go:” Coalition for Justice leads effort to clean up neighborhood hit hard by violence

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MILWAUKEE -- The Coalition for Justice led an effort to help clean up the neighborhood in Milwaukee that was hit hard by violence late Saturday, August 13th and early Sunday, August 14th. The destruction was done in the wake of an officer-involved fatal shooting near 44th and Auer.

Nate Hamilton and dozens more gathered at Sherman Park around 8:00 a.m. on Sunday. They began with a brief prayer -- and then began the effort to clean up the mess left behind by those who caused unrest in the neighborhood late Saturday and early Sunday.

Mel Spears was on her way to church when she took a detour to pray at Sherman Park.

"I felt like my help was really needed in this city because the people at church are aware that this is where we need to be. This is outreach right here," Spears said.

Volunteers were handed plastic garbage bags to help with the effort to clean up. Hamilton solicited some who were sitting on their porch -- hoping they would join the cause.

Dozens flooded the area to show others what it means to take pride in your neighborhood.

Coalition for Justice leads effort to clean up neighborhood hit hard by violence

Coalition for Justice leads effort to clean up neighborhood hit hard by violence

Coalition for Justice leads effort to clean up neighborhood hit hard by violence

"We need to continue to love and inspire people with an atmosphere that changes the way they look at things," Nate Hamilton said.

Unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

Unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

The unrest broke out hours after an officer shot a man who police say fled a traffic stop.

It happened 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."

The man, identified by his father as Sylville Smith died at the scene. It was unclear Sunday morning whether the second occupant of the car was in police custody.

Smith was shot twice, in the arm and chest, the mayor said. The handgun he carried had been stolen during a burglary in nearby Waukesha in March, according to police.

"The victim of that burglary reported 500 rounds of ammunition were also stolen with the handgun," police said.

The officer who fired the fatal shots was not injured and will be placed on administrative duty during an investigation. He is 24 years old and has six years of service with the Milwaukee Police Department -- three as an officer.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said Sunday he is African-American, and there are concerns for her safety.

The officer was wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting, Barrett said.

Flynn and Barrett said that body camera video is not being released at this point, as the investigation is ongoing. Barrett noted that the officer who fired in this case hadn't been interviewed as of 3:00 p.m. Sunday.

"A young man lost his life (Saturday) afternoon. No matter what, his family has to be hurting. There was a body camera the officer was wearing. The video will be under the jurisdiction of the state of Wisconsin. I have seen a still photo extracted from that video. That photo demonstrates, without question, that (Smith) had a gun in his hand. The police officer didn't know it at the time, but there were 23 rounds in that gun. He had more bullets in his gun than the police officer had in his gun. What that police officer encountered was an individual who had a gun in his hand. I would like to see the video released as soon as possible but I agree -- the officer has not even been interviewed yet, the officer who was involved," Barrett said.

"This happened (Saturday) night, OK? I don`t think there`s anyone in the country who`s released a body-worn camera of an officer-involved shooting in 24 hours or 36 hours. I think Chicago set the modern record with a week," Flynn said.

Officer-involved shooting near 44th & Auer

Officer-involved shooting near 44th & Auer

"This is a neighborhood that has unfortunately been affected by violence in the recent past," Barrett said. The shooting occurred near the same place where a double homicide happened on August 9. In that incident a man was shot dead and another was fatally stabbed, police said.

City Alderman Khalif Rainey said the area has been a "powder keg" for potential violence throughout the summer.

"What happened tonight may not have been right and I am not justifying that but no one can deny the fact that there are problems, racial problems in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that need to be rectified," Rainey said. "This community of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has become the worst place to live for African Americans in the entire country."

officer-involved shooting2

Rainey said Saturday's violence was a byproduct of inequities, injustice, unemployment and under-education.

"Something has to be done to address these issues," he said. "The black people of Milwaukee are tired, they are tired of living under this oppression, this is their life."

officer-involved shooting3

Multiple buildings and businesses were set on fire late Saturday. Those businesses included the BP gas station at Sherman and Burleigh, Jet Beauty at 35th and Fond du Lac, BMO Harris Bank at 36th and Fond du Lac, O'Reilly Auto Parts at Fond du Lac and Burleigh, MJM Liquor at Fond du Lac and North and a second gas station near 21st and Hopkins.

Seven squad cars were damaged. Eight rounds of gunfire struck a Bearcat vehicle being utilized by law enforcement.

Four officers were hurt -- three were struck by concrete and one was hit by flying glass.

Seventeen arrests were made overnight, and all of those arrested have prior criminal records.

Shot Spotter, MPD's "shots fired" technology was activated 48 times overnight. Police said a 16-year-old girl was struck by gunfire near 43rd and Burleigh.

Despite all this violence, there were no "use of force" incidents by MPD during the unrest.

"That was devastating and, you know, this is not the way to go," Demond Brister said.

Brister, like many others, watched it all unfold on social media.

"That`s not what we should be putting out there, that we`re trying to tear it up. Let`s restore it and build it back up, building up the community," Brister said.

Brister on Sunday showed his six-year-old son what it means to restore peace.

"I say that it`s imperative for me to bring him so I can show him this is how we build community. You don`t go and take an opportunity to tear it down because we`re angry. You have to do something better," Brister said.

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

Fire burns at gas station near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

Fire burns at gas station near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

Unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

Unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

Jet Beauty


O'Reilly Auto Parts set on fire

O'Reilly Auto Parts set on fire

Fire at liquor store near Fond du Lac & Meinecke

Fire at liquor store near Fond du Lac & Meinecke

As the chaos escalated Saturday, the mayor pleaded with protesters to end their demonstrations.

"If you love your son, if you love your daughter, text them, call them, pull them by the ears and get them home. Get them home right now before more damage is done," the mayor said. "I know this neighborhood very, very well. And there are a lot of really really good people who live in this area -- in the Sherman Park area, who can't stand this violence."

At 3:20 a.m. Sunday, police tweeted they were restoring order and "reducing deployments."

Local officials planned to meet with church and community leaders Sunday to discuss ways to move forward.

On Sunday night, there will be 150 officers deployed as part of MPD's Major Incident Response Team. Flynn said all officers will be hitting the streets in two-person patrol units.

Governor Scott Walker has activated the National Guard -- but Barrett said the National Guard would not be deployed unless Chief Flynn deemed it necessary. 125 members of the National Guard were headed to Milwaukee Sunday.


  • confused

    I’m confused by Rainey’s statement (inequities, under-educated, etc) as to why a portion of the city was burned, cops attacked, city and private property ruined and it all happened in the cover of darkness.(cowards) I thought people were mad that someone with a stolen gun & 500 rounds of stolen ammo, fled police by vehicle and foot, pulled the gun and got shot dead by a trained officer of the law in broad daylight on cameras. Aren’t people with stolen guns and ammo who do not drop weapons and flee supposed to be shot? I have no training, obviously, but I thought offering to take them out for pizza and beer when they flee and pull was not an option. How is that “injustice”? If there is unemployment, why would you burn down businesses that employ? I guess that’s where the “unemployment” and the “under-educated” comes in. Why would you trash bus stops to get to work/school? That must be the “inequities” public transportation is not for everyone? Because it seems to me there are plenty if not MORE opportunities for people of color in Milwaukee then there ever have been. It also seems that the more things that are offered the less satisfied a % of people are. It’s almost as if a % of people do not want people of color to succeed and use every opportunity to voice how taken advantage of they are, instead of focusing on the good that there is.

  • Todd

    The people that live ‘there’, ‘that particular neighborhood’ has nothing to do with anything. Some have lived in the Sherman park area for over 50 years. It seems to be a ‘hub’ where violence occurs only because it’s a popular rote through the Northside. Connecting to Southside, with 7 distract is right there.

  • Tom

    Surround them with APC’s and tanks and call in the Spec OPs units to mow them all down. Gun down anybody who tries to escape the KZ !

  • M W

    Coalition of Justice ?? What a joke !!! Nate Hamilton and his dysfunctional family/brother are a root cause of this violence. in the mistaken belief that his brother with mental health issues should be allowed to beat a cop with his own night stick, followed up by the Obama democrat party putting of heroin dealers, robbers and police attacking THUGS on the same pedestal as 1960 s civil rights leaders ALL to mask the Obama/democrat party FAILURE to do anything for the minority community of this nation while milking them for votes is the cause of this. An idea that lawlessness is allowed when a CRIMINAL assaults or tries to kill police IS INSANE, But this will be how Obama and the democrats motivate the minority to vote fro Hillary instead of an honest examination as to what the democrat party has done for them over the last 8 years, nothing but pander and lie to appease and get their votes…Idiots,

  • Angie

    First of all I want to say yes what happen was wrong how things went but we go pay of our action when we go before God we need to watch what we say in do cause there is a Heaven in Hell in if you think God don’t See everything going on you crazy so we need to pray in stop judging cause everyone is hurting in going through we can’t judge what happen we should be on a positive level it doesn’t matter what race you are cause everyone has done something in your life that wasn’t right We need to stop this racial stuff now The one person everyone better watch out for is God in he’s not to be played with so we better watch what we do in say I’m praying for everyone in God Bless You All!!!!!

  • mike zara

    WHY are there white people helping with the clean up? they have to understand that black people hate them even if they are helping ,blacks will turn on them so fast,they are like pitbills!

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