Milwaukee Police shot and killed an armed criminal yesterday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which has been turned in an excuse to riot, commit arson, and loot an eleven-block area.
City leaders pleaded for calm after violence erupted for several hours Saturday night on Milwaukee’s north side following a man’s fatal shooting by police, with the mayor imploring parents of anyone at the scene to “get them home right now” after at least four businesses burned and one officer was hurt.
At a news conference just after midnight, Mayor Tom Barrett said the situation appeared to be calming after a riotous scene in which as many as 100 protesters skirmished with police, torching a squad car and tossing a brick through the window of another. Police mounted at least two efforts to push the protesters out of an intersection at the heart of the violence.
The unrest began several hours after a man fleeing police after a traffic stop was shot and killed. Police said the man was armed, but it wasn’t clear whether he was pointing the gun or aiming it at officers. Barrett said the man was hit twice, in the chest and arm. Neither his race nor the officer’s was immediately released, nor were they identified.
The shooting was being investigated by the state. The officer was wearing a body camera, Barrett said.
At least three people were arrested in an uprising that Barrett said was driven by social media messages instructing people to congregate in the area.
As a matter of law, law enforcement officers are justified in shooting an armed fleeing criminal if they reasonably believe that suspect poses a continuing risk to officers or the general public. This was the case with Paul O’Neal in Chicago recently when officers merely thought he had a gun, and it’s even more clearly the case in Milwaukee, where the suspect openly had a firearm in his hand when he was shot.
Residents used Twitter, Facebook, and other social media to use the shooting of this armed suspect to justify rioting, arson, and looting.
The Milwaukee fire department was turned away from the buildings being looted and burned because of reports of gunfire, at least some of it being directed and law enforcement and fire department vehicles.
It appears that some level of calm may be temporarily returning to the streets of Milwaukee as dawn approaches, but if Twitter is any indication, anger over last nights rioting is beginning to boil around the nation as a surprising number of people are still attempting to justify the riots, and many more are pushing back against the obvious criminal nature of the riots and the thinnest of justifications offered by the rioters.
As news of the rioting, arson, and looting resulting from what appears to be a justified police shooting of an armed criminal spreads, you can expect gun shops across the nation to see an uptick in the sale of firearms as people arm themselves for fear that this sort of rioting can happen almost anywhere, for little or no reason at all.