National Guard Activated But Not Deployed As Milwaukee Protests Continued on Sunday Night

Gov. Scott Walker said the National Guard would be available to aid local law enforcement "on request."


Armando L. Sanchez/TNS/Newscom

In the wake of violent protests in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has called up the National Guard to help restore order in the state's largest city.

On Sunday, Walker said the National Guard would be available to aid local law enforcement "on request."

Police said Monday the National Guard was not deployed and was not involved in the unrest on Sunday night and early Monday morning. It was the second night of violence in one of Milwaukee's predominantly black neighborhoods.

At least two people were shot during protests on Sunday night and more cars were set on fire, according to media reports. That followed on the heels of a violent outburst on Saturday night when four police officers and 17 people were arrested as protestors set fire to police cars and four businesses in the city's Sherman Park neighborhood.

The protests began after Milwaukee police killed Sylville Smith, a 23 year-old African-American man.

The facts of this shooting—at least the facts available at the moment—make it considerably different from other recent police killings of young black men that have set off occasionally violent protests in Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Minneapolis and elsewhere.

According to police, Smith was armed and refused officers' orders to drop his weapon before he was shot. Smith had a criminal record and was fleeing a traffic stop when the lethal confrontation with police took place.

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn on Saturday said the department has body cam footage of the incident, though it has not yet been released to the public. Flynn said the initial review suggested the shooting "certainly appeared to be within lawful bounds," Reuters reported.

The destruction of private property in Milwaukee over the weekend has been unnecessary, counterproductive, and appalling. Calling in the National Guard isn't a decision that should be made lightly, but in this case it seems to be justified.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat who twice ran against Walker in gubernatorial elections, and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, an outspoken Republican, both asked Walker to activate the National Guard.

Clarke has made headlines for attacking the Black Lives Matter movement and criticizing President Barack Obama for supposedly stoking anti-police sentiment in African-American communities. At the Republican National Convention last month, Clarke gave a primetime speech in which he decried Black Lives Matter protests in Baltimore and Baton Rouge as "anarchy" and praised the decision not to charge officers in Baltimore with any crimes connected to the death of Freddie Gray.

Walker, in a statement, called for calm and asked for protestors to allow an investigation to take place. Wisconsin state law requires an independent investigation anytime a police officer is involved in a deadly shooting.

The officer who shot and killed Smith has not been identified. On Sunday, Flynn told reporters that the officer was a 24-year old African-American man.