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Walker activates National Guard in wake of officer-involved shooting, subsequent violence

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MILWAUKEE -- Governor Scott Walker activated the Wisconsin National Guard in the wake of a fatal officer-involved shooting in Milwaukee on Saturday, August 13th, and violence that followed.


“Specifically, what this means initially is that 125 members of a Rapid Response Team -- there’s a component of that rapid response that’s 125 members that are of the 32nd Military Police Company. Those individuals are trained for not only a military standpoint, but they also have a law enforcement background. They were activated Sunday. They’re being called up to one central site. That’ll take awhile and then they’ll receive several hours of training that includes rules of engagement, what their specific assignments will be if called upon and then our intention is late (Sunday night), early into the morning, they’ll be stationed at an armory here within the Milwaukee area. They would be available upon request from either or the Milwaukee Police Department or the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office. Again, our intention is that they’re not immediately coming over to be on the ground or on the streets, but they would be available at this site if a request was made," Walker said in Glendale Sunday.

Walker made the announcement during a previously scheduled "Blue Day" rally in Glendale Sunday. He was joined by Milwaukee Police Association president Mike Crivello, Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan and others.

Blue Day

The pro-police event took on a different meaning in light of the events on Saturday.

"I think if there is any time that this city needs to come together and show support for for police and show support for law and order, it's now. The actions (Saturday night) are not at all reflective of the overwhelming majority, the silent majority of Milwaukeeans who care deeply about law and order," Alderman Donovan said.

What happened Saturday night and Sunday morning changed the tone of the otherwise casual outdoor event at a beer garden in Glendale.

"We are fortunate that we have such professional officers. They truly do care. They are going to go into the worst neighborhoods we have in this city and they are going to do the best job that they possibly can. Let me highlight the fact that any time an officer utilizes use of force, he is forced to do so by the perpetrator," Crivello said.

The initial request for National Guard activation was made by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. After speaking with Clarke, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the Milwaukee Police Department, Walker approved the activation.

Walker issued the following statement Sunday:

"Following a request from Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, and after discussions with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Adjutant General Donald Dunbar, I have activated the Wisconsin National Guard to be in a position to aid local law enforcement upon request.

I commend the citizens who volunteered in clean-up efforts this morning. This act of selfless caring sets a powerful example for Milwaukee's youth and the entire community. I join Milwaukee's leaders and citizens in calling for continued peace and prayer.

It is also important for citizens to know that Wisconsin is the first state in the nation to have a law requiring an independent investigation anytime there is a shooting by a law enforcement officer that leads to a death. I will not comment on the specifics of the case as it is now under this investigation. I do, however, hope people will give law enforcement the respect they deserve for working so hard to keep us safe."

CLICK HERE to read the executive order.

Angry crowds took to the streets in Milwaukee on Saturday night to protest the shooting death of an armed man by a police officer hours earlier, identified by Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn as 23-year-old Sylville Smith.

Fire burns at gas station near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

Fire burns at gas station near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

Protesters burned several stores and threw rocks at police in the city's north side. A total of six fires were set, and four officers were hurt. They were treated and released. Seven squad cars were damaged, and there were a total of 48 "Shot Spotter" shots fired activations.

17 arrests were made Saturday night and Sunday morning, police said.


The incident started Saturday afternoon when two officers stopped two people who were in a car in the north side, according to the Milwaukee Police Department.

“I was advised it was a suspicious stop. This vehicle was behaving in a suspicious manner. It’s a rental car as it turns out. We’ve not ascertained its status as to whether or not it was lawfully rented or stolen," Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said Sunday afternoon.

Shortly after, both car occupants fled on foot as officers pursued them, police said.

During the chase, an officer shot one of the two -- a 23-year-old man who was armed with a handgun, according to authorities.

officer-involved shooting

"He (officer) ordered that individual to drop his gun, the individual did not drop his gun," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said. "He had the gun with him and the officer fired several times."

Sylville Smith/Facebook

Sylville Smith died at the scene. It's unclear whether the second occupant of the car is in police custody.

Smith was shot twice -- in the arm and chest, the mayor said. His handgun was stolen during a burglary in Waukesha in March, according to police.

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

officer-involved shooting2

The officer, 24, was assigned to District 7 and has six years of service with the Milwaukee Police Department -- three of those as an officer.

He was not injured and will be placed on administrative duty during the investigation and subsequent review by the district attorney's office.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said Sunday that officer is African-American, and there are concerns for his safety. He has not been identified at this point.

At the time of the shooting, he was wearing a body camera, Barrett said.

"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," Barrett said.

The body camera video is not being released at this point, as the investigation continues.

"We’re going to have to weigh a couple different things. We have to weigh the public’s benefit. We have to weigh the rights of the officer involved. We have to weigh the concern that DCI has to have an investigation. I suppose there are people that would say we might have to protect a potential jury pool someday, I don’t know," Flynn said.

By state law, the Wisconsin Department of Justice will lead the investigation.

Jet Beauty

As the chaos escalated overnight, authorities implored the crowds to disperse and go home. Some used social media to urge others to come out and take part in the protests, according to Barrett.

"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.

Scene near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

Scene near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

The mayor said police presence would be strong as part of an "all-out-effort" to restore order. At least three people have been arrested, he said.

The shooting occurred near the scene of a double homicide that happened this month. In the related attacks August 9, a man was shot dead while another one was fatally stabbed, police said.

"This is a neighborhood that has unfortunately been affected by violence in the recent past," Barrett 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."

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

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

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

"I hope calm will remain in this community, and we will not have to deploy the Guard," Barrett said Sunday afternoon. "This is still a very volatile situation. I'm seeking our community, the city that we love, to be calm (Sunday night) and the rest of the summer. What is that going to take? It's going to take parents making sure that their sons and daughters do not get involved in what happened (Saturday) night. I've been in every neighborhood in this city. I've been to funerals and wakes. We don't know what's going to happen if we have a flare-up like (Saturday) night. If you love your son, if you love your daughter, you love your grandchild, tell them to stay away from the area. Let's calm things down. We has a community owe it to each other, we owe it to everyone, to restore order."


  • Frank

    Multicultural democracies, like the USA, consist of peoples of different religions, languages, cultures, races, and nationalities. One of these groups dominates the others by naked military and police power. Nations, on the other hand, are dominated by one group that makes up a strong majority of the population. Finally and most important, nations are inherently stable while empires are always inherently unstable. Nations are naturally stable because a majority of the people mutually recognize each other as co-nationals. Multi-ethnic democracies like the current USA never achieve true internal stability. They survive only by military and police suppression and break up the minute the dominant group loses the power to shackle the empire together. To understand the future, study the past. Throughout world history, all multi-ethnic democracies have broken up, and almost always in cataclysmic violence. Therefore, the question is not if the multi-ethnic American Empire will shatter, but when and under what circumstances.

  • FedUp

    Let’s stop mincing words and start telling the truth. These are NOT protestors – they are rioters and looters and should be shot on sight. Until we start dealing with thugs in the proper way, they will continue to destroy property and lives.
    I believe the late George Carlin said it best: “Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners”.

  • Betty Boopo

    How about CLM (cop lives matter)….people are so ignorant when it comes to this. If we were to say white lives matter and start protesting and stuff, you can bet something would be said about it…but at least we wouldn’t be burning down buildings and stuff. Just ridiculous and all they are doing is looting and still crying about BLM…such BS…stop selling the drugs and and stop shooting people that look at you wrong…grow up and stop carrying weapons as if it is your right when you have no right to carry at all….what do you think is going to happen when you have a weapon and you aim at police….I’d shoot you too! Just making it worse with all the violent protests and they just do not know how to have a peaceful one and shouldn’t be having them at all actually because if someone is shot, it’s because they deserved it…keep carrying and selling and doing what you are doing and it’s bound to happen so until they realize the problem, it will never get fixed.

  • christopher e riley

    chain off the hood. Let them burn it down. Make sure no one gets to leave the hood after they are done burning it down. No one is comig back to rebuild it.

  • know thanx

    Attention… Attention… The officer involved was African American. False alarm. Please stop burning down your own neighborhood. Thank you.

    • Tommy

      Not to mention the “victim” was armed with a stolen gun that he pulled on the cop after fleeing during a simple traffic stop. When the riots happen regardless of the circumstances it starts to feel like the beginnings of a race war the media has been trying for years to start.

  • unicorns and rainbows

    Pretty sad state of Milwaukee when the County Sheriff asks the Governor to activate the National Guard and Tommy Boy (who was reelected overwhelming over Bob Donovan) continues to be clueless. Liberalism is truly a mental disorder.

  • Kathy Braun

    Get real… the family thinks the victim of this shooting is their thug son/brother? He is certainly NOT a victim! He possessed a stolen gun, has a criminal record, ran from the police, and has apparently been up to no good for most of his young life. The victims are the neighborhood, local businesses and people whose property was destroyed by a mob of rioters! They are criminals too and should be prosecuted! Civilized people do not behave like that. What is the purpose of riots and the looting and destruction of property owned by innocent, hard working people? Bring on the armed National Guard!

    • Roy Joseph Applewhite

      Nobody deserves to die, but with that being said, when a person puts themselves in a bad situation what do you expect the consequences will be?? That young man should have never put himself in that situation. You don’t walk around armed with a loaded gun, for what?? I’m tired of all these so called “Protesters” blaming the police officers for doing their jobs. Get over!! Milwaukee was a beautiful city that I felt safe when my grandparents were alive during the early 70s. What happened?? Too many uncivilized black people moved to Milwaukee and just destroyed that quiet, safe image.

    • Roy Applewhite

      Nobody deserves to die, but with that being said, when a person puts themselves in a bad situation what do you expect the consequences will be?? That young man should have never put himself in that situation. You don’t walk around armed with a loaded gun, for what?? I’m tired of all these so called “Protesters” blaming the police officers for doing their jobs. Get over it!! Milwaukee was a beautiful city that I felt safe when my grandparents were alive during the early 70s. What happened?? Too many uncivilized black people moved to Milwaukee and just destroyed that quiet, safe image.

      • Frank

        James Madison agreed with Jefferson that the only solution to the race problem was to free the slaves and expel them: “To be consistent with existing and probably unalterable prejudices in the U.S. freed blacks ought to be permanently removed beyond the region occupied by or allotted to a White population.” He proposed that the federal government buy up the entire slave population and transport it overseas. After two terms in office, he served as chief executive of the American Colonization Society, which was established to repatriate Blacks.

    • Roy

      Black Americans that choose to do wrong hurt each other as well as the world that God Almighty created, so let’s get real here and stop the “Pity Party”.

  • sparkles!

    You people seem to have a lot of time on your hands. While the ones in your own community are trying to make a living.. What do you do? You vandalize the same businesses that try to provide services to your community. Then you wonder why Milwaukee is becoming a ghost town. Another Detroit waiting to happen. Lets steal more cars, because you can not get from point a to your own community. What a bunch of thugs. Now we see it in Cudahy with in the last couple of days. Stay the hell out of our communities. Hope that the good people on the North side of Milwaukee find a safer place to live.

  • jim bob

    Tell the National Guard to bring the light bulbs. Lots of them. This summer I hear the drumming and I look forward to it.

  • MA

    So mr ohblameya. Hows that set with u..the communties still seem N QUEEN HILLARY THE CRIMINAL CLINTON..NEED TO GOOO

  • Bluecollar

    What is going on within our nation is a new generation of lawlessness, holy scriptures speak of this NOW IS THE TIME TO PRAY AS NEVER BEFORE, this can happen anywhere in USA ethnicity of officers should not be /but is given. Hopefully more citizens in communities will hire more officers reflective of it’s residents. Knowly those that will join the ranks won’t because of outside pressures from family, friends and associates. Hopefully we will all be more PRAYFULL in our daily journeys.

  • BBinks

    What are our police supposed to do? Should they let thugs run wild just because they are black? Has being black become a “get out of jail” card, that allows them to do whatever they wish? No parent should have to face the death of a child, but responsibility must be accepted for criminal behavior.

  • MelissaK

    And why are they NOT being used in these ghettos, Walker!? These uncivilized, uneducated and unemployed animals kill EACH OTHER EVERY DAY/NIGHT, they burn down THEIR OWN neighborHOODS, and THEN, the blame the white and the POLICE!? Please!!!! Let’s send them all back to Africa and be done with it. This is 100% ridiculous! Thanks forefathers. We should have picked our OWN COTTON!

  • Klaatu

    I’m now fully convinced there is a definite genetic difference between how black brains and white brains operate. Many feel this way but never speak it due to the BS requirement for political correctness.
    There were numerous shootings in the immediate vicinity that night but the only time the blacks got upset is when a cop shot an armed thug with a rap sheet a mile long. (Must have been the local hero and go-to guy for advice on community service)
    Again, they (blacks) have no problem killing each other, stealing from each other, trashing each others’ property – they accept it without a thought otherwise. But as soon as you bring law and order into the equation they scream foul.
    Bring in the national guard and lay waste to the area. Solve this problem once and for all. I doubt they would care about the property being leveled – they’ve been working at doing that for the last forty years in that neighborhood. Just don’t imprison or kill any of them because they’re all good people who dindonuffin.

  • leonard smith

    I understand there has been a call to burn down the suburbs . I ask the Governor , will you have troops on the street soon to protect us in he suburbs ?

Comments are closed.

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