CROWDS of protesters gathered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Saturday night after a police officer fatally shot a fleeing man.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett appealed for calm after the rally turned violent as protesters set cars and properties ablaze and clashed with police. Officials confirmed that at least three people have been arrested.
The events leading up to Saturday night’s riots began when an unnamed police officer pulled over a car with two men inside, who then left the vehicle and attempted to run away.
A chase ensued on foot, and police fired shots at one of the men, fatally wounding him. The 23-year-old, whose name has not been released, was allegedly in possession of a stolen handgun, police spokesman Captain Mark Stanmeyer told the media.
Several vehicles, including a police car, were set on fire, and the crowd of rioters then proceeded to break into and loot a gas station, which was then seemingly set alight as well. An eyewitness nicknamed EX414 livestreamed the escalating violence on his Ustream channel.
Shots were being fired near the gas station, preventing police from extinguishing the fire, the Milwaukee Police Department said on its Twitter account. Police had said earlier that they were responding to the disturbance in the Sherman and Auer areas.
Angry youth apparently set several other properties on fire, including a bank. A live stream video showed thick smoke coming out of the windows of BMO Harris Bank. Early on police officers barricaded themselves inside a 7th district police station, witnesses reported.
Over 100 protesters confronted a line of 20 to 30 officers, the local Journal Sentinel reported. As the officers sat in their cars getting ready to leave, some participants of the impromptu rally began hitting the car windows, smashing them. Officers, who had already left, returned to the scene, with many clad in riot gear. Several shots were allegedly fired into the air by some people in the crowd.