MILWAUKEE -- Social media posts are lighting up with comments and opinions about the Milwaukee police officer who shot Sylville Smith, and about Smith himself. One local man doesn't know if the officer and Smith knew each other or crossed paths before one shot the other, but they had a few things in common -- including Sawi Perry as a friend.
"I think the image of both parties are being tarnished," said Perry.
Sawi Perry, is a National Guardsman and local rap artist trying to promote the positive messages in light of the riots in his neighborhood.
Perry says he knew Sylville Smith, who was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer on Saturday, August 13th. He also knows the officer.
"They both, from what I know, weren't bad guys so that's the message I want to give so they both were not bad guys and people need to look more into the facts. One was a college graduate, one was a good kid. I know for a fact the officer was a college graduate. He was not a street dude. The other guy I know was not a street guy," said Perry.
Perry says social media posts are fueling anger, trying to vilify Smith or the officer. Neither of his friends, deserves that, he says.
Perry knew Smith as a dancer, the officer a rapper.
Perry says he was in the next room when the officer recorded a rap video last year. Perry says the lyrics were not anything more than art, fiction and entertainment.
That's one reason Sawi Perry says he and other artists will gather in Sherman Park Sunday, to talk to kids and hand out school supplies.
"I think they need to hear our real voice. Pretty much the faces that they know and the artists they listen to caring for them and stop all this from happening," said Perry.
Perry says he's not sure if the officer and Smith ever really knew each other. They may have certainly passed each other before that fateful day both had guns and the officer fired.
"If he was in the wrong or he was in the wrong, I hope it comes to some type of closure so we can move on as a city," said Perry.
Local artists will be gathering at Sherman Park at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 21st to hand to school supplies to kids and speak to them.
The public is welcome to bring school supplies to donate as well.