MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker activated his state’s National Guard on Sunday to help police in Milwaukee if violent protests persist following the fatal shooting of a man by officers who said he was fleeing a traffic stop.
At least four businesses were burned and one police officer was hurt in violence that broke out Saturday night a few hours after the officer-involved shooting. Police said the man had a handgun.
The protests happened on the city’s predominantly black north side. The races of the man and the officer weren’t immediately released, but an alderman called the violence a warning sign from black residents “tired of living under this oppression.”
Walker said he took the step after receiving a request from Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and talking with Mayor Tom Barrett and the Guard’s leader. His announcement said the Guard will be in position to help “upon request.”
Walker praised citizens who showed up Sunday to clean up the north side neighborhood where the violence took place. He called for “continued peace and prayer.”
Earlier Sunday, volunteers swept and picked up debris in the neighborhood rocked by Saturday’s violence.
The races of the officer and victim haven’t been released, but an alderman called the violence a warning sign from black residents “tired of living under this oppression.”
Up to three dozen people swept up glass and filled trash bags with rocks, bricks and bottles at an intersection where a BP gas station burned to the ground, a traffic light was bent and bus shelters were shoved to the ground Saturday night. One volunteer picked up a bullet casing and handed it to police.
Darlene Rose, 31, said she understands the anger that fueled the violence, but that it doesn’t help.
“I feel like if you’re going to make a difference, it’s got to be an organized difference,” Rose said. “The people that came and looted, you’re not going to see them here today.”
Three protesters were arrested, and one officer was injured by a thrown brick. During a late night news conference at which city leaders appealed for calm, Mayor Tom Barrett said the man was hit twice, in the chest and arm.
The protesters were largely black, and Alderman Khalif Rainey — who represents the district — said early Sunday that the city’s black residents are “tired of living under this oppression.” Nearly 40 percent of Milwaukee’s 600,000 residents are black, and heavily concentrated on the north side.
“Now this is a warning cry. Where do we go from here? Where do we go as a community from here?” Rainey said at the news conference with Barrett.
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