Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has announced a 9 p.m. curfew for the city Saturday night after peaceful Friday protests broke into violent unrest that left 16 buildings looted and an MPD officer injured after being shot. About 50 people were arrested.
“We have to get control of our city tonight,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.
And members of the Wisconsin National Guard will be in the city to respond to protests.
Barrett did not say whether the curfew would extend past Saturday.
“We will have the curfew tonight, the National Guard tonight, and then we can re-evaluate tomorrow,” Barrett said.
The 38-year-old officer who was shot and injured is a Milwaukee resident, born and raised, who is a “God-fearing individual,” Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said Saturday.
“This person that was shot, had he not been wearing a uniform, would be somebody that you would not think was a police officer,” Morales said. “This is a person, a human being that we want to represent the police department and the community.”
He called for Saturday’s protesters to act peacefully so there is not a repeat of what happened late Friday and into Saturday morning.
The hundreds of people who’d protested during the day Friday did so peacefully and shared a powerful message, Morales said.
“When the sun went down, things changed,” he said. “It was another entity — that of crime, unlawfulness, distastefulness and total immaturity.”
In all, 16 businesses across the city were looted and some were set on fire, Morales said.
“These businesses are from our community. These are businesses that grandma goes to get her medication. These are businesses that grandma walks to get her food. …These are family-owned businesses,” he said.
Barrett said the Wisconsin National Guard is coming to the city not to patrol the streets, but to protect community and cultural institutions, like childcare centers, churches and fire stations.
With the Guard’s help, Milwaukee police can focus on the policing the neighborhoods they know well, he said.
“What we’re trying to do is to free (city police) up to do that job, because again they were out-manned last night and we can’t allow that to happen,” he said.