The agitators wanted body cams for the police, they got body cams.
The black man whose killing by police touched off rioting in Milwaukee was shot by a black officer after turning toward him with a gun in his hand, the police chief said Sunday, as Wisconsin’s governor put the National Guard on standby against any further violence on the city’s mostly black north side.
Police Chief Edward Flynn cautioned that the shooting was still under investigation and authorities were awaiting autopsy results, but that based on the silent video from the unidentified officer’s body camera, he “certainly appeared to be within lawful bounds.”
At the same news conference, Mayor Tom Barrett said a still image pulled from the footage clearly showed the gun in 23-year-old Sylville K. Smith’s hand as he fled a traffic stop Saturday.
“I want our community to know that,” Barrett said. But he also called for understanding for Smith’s family.
“A young man lost his life yesterday afternoon,” the mayor said. “And no matter what the circumstances are, his family has to be hurting.”
Flynn refused to identify the officer who shot Smith but said he is black. The police chief said he wasn’t sure what prompted the stop but described Smith’s car as “behaving suspiciously.”
After watching the officer’s body camera footage, Flynn said the entire episode took about 25 seconds, from the start of the traffic stop until shots were fired. He said Smith ran “a few dozen feet” and turned toward the officer while holding a gun.