Calls for calm, curfew ensure peaceful night in Milwaukee after violence

MILWAUKEE Community leaders calling for restraint and a night-time curfew on teenagers appeared to be keeping the city of Milwaukee calm in the early hours of Tuesday after two nights of violence sparked by a police officer shooting dead a black man.

Police said an officer shot and killed Sylville Smith, 23, on Saturday afternoon when he ran away from police who had stopped him for “suspicious behavior”. Before he was killed, Smith refused to drop an illegal handgun he was carrying, police said.

Peaceful demonstrations to mark Smith’s death turned into violent protests on Saturday and Sunday. Some torched businesses and police cars, and gunshots were fired. Angry crowds threw bottles and bricks at riot police.

Eight officers were wounded in the confrontations and dozens of people were arrested, according to police. One person was wounded by a gunshot.

A city-wide curfew for teenagers began late on Monday at 10 p.m. (0300 GMT). “We think we are in, comparatively speaking, a positive place,” Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn told a news conference at the start of the curfew. “We had folks from the community step forward to take a leadership role in reducing tensions.”

The mayor of Milwaukee said on Monday nightly curfews on teenagers would be kept in place “for as long as necessary”.

Milwaukee has become the latest American city to be gripped by unrest in the wake of high-profile police killings of black men over the past two years.

Famed for its breweries, Milwaukee is one of the most racially divided cities in the United States, with a black population plagued with high levels of unemployment that are absent in the mostly white suburbs.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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