Video footage shows violent mobs of black people targeting white people for assaults and beatings during last night’s rioting and arson in Milwaukee. Angry rioters chanted “black power” in the video, and then segued into “Is they white?” of vehicles passing by on the street in darkness.
As flames rose in the background, mobs promptly ran towards a vehicle when a voice cries out “Yeah they white!” Another rioter shouted, “Yeah they white, get they ass!” Another voice exclaimed “Hey, they beating up every white person!” To this, yet another voice cried “Hey they beatin’ up every white person!” The video apparently showed occupants being dragged from their vehicles. The video cuts to an upper-storey window before the narrator says, “I think they just beat some white bitch ass for no reason – they bust open the window.”
An amateur video recorded incendiaries chanting “black power!” while a gas station burns in the background. Milwaukee fire brigades stayed away from the largely African-American Sherman Park area where the rioting took place because of gun shots. Members of the media were targeted by the largely African-American mobs. A Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter, for example, was “thrown to the ground and punched.”
Local WTMJ television news withdrew its reporters because of violent threats. A news video recorded one man seeking to justify the violence by claiming that not enough support is going to the black community in Milwaukee and that rich people do not give black people enough money. Incendiaries burned a number of vehicles, including at least one police squad car.
Things got rolling this weekend when a motorist was shot to death in his car on the evening of August 12. More murders occurred that night and into the pre-dawn hours of August 13. Within nine hours overnight, there were five fatal shootings in Milwaukee. Unrest began later on August 13 after news circulated that police had shot and killed a 23-year-old black man, with a “lengthy criminal record,” who was carrying an illegal firearm that had been stolen in a burglary in Waukesha. Hours later angry crowds of African Americans hit the streets. A police officer was struck by a flying brick that hit him in the head. He was hospitalized.
Arsonists burned down a bank, a filling station, a beauty salon and an auto parts store. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett pleaded for calm at an early morning news conference today and asked citizens to help restore order. "If you love your son, if you love your daughter, text them, call them, pull them by the ears and get 'em home," he said. Consisting of about 100 people, the mob thinned out by early morning today. However, Milwaukee Police Chief James Harpole told reporters that there were still a lot of people out. "It is still a very tense situation for us," Harpole added.
The so-far unidentified armed 23-year-old male has not yet been identified. Milwaukee Police Assistant Chief Bill Jessup told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that is not clear whether the gun he was carrying was pointed at the officer who shot him. "Those additional facts will come out in the coming days," Jessup said. The officer in question had a body-cam; footage from that camera is to be analyzed. His name has not yet been released.
The state government will investigate the incident because it has jurisdiction over officer-involved shootings. Gov. Scott Walker announced today that the Wisconsin National Guard is on standby if needed to quell rebellion.
As the filling station went up in flames, Terrell Johnnies – who founded the “Spread Love Initiative” – called for nonviolence. Having gone to the street to preach non-violence, Johnnies told NBC News, "I do not want my city to turn into a war zone." Johnnies added, “I was thinking hopefully they can see me and recognize me and stop the violence." Once the bullets began to fly, Johnnies fled. "Once there were gun shots, that's when I decided I mostly definitely had to remove myself ... There was only one of me."