MILWAUKEE (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Saturday called on the state National Guard to help support law enforcement in Milwaukee following protests over the deaths of George Floyd and a local man turned violent overnight.
Evers said in a press release that he authorized 125 Guard members to assist after receiving a request from Milwaukee city and county officials. They are worried about a repeat of the demonstration over Floyd and Joel Acevedo, who died last month after an altercation with a Milwaukee police officer.
A 38-year-old officer suffered a minor gunshot wound around 3:30 a.m. Saturday on the city’s south side where protesters had gathered near a police precinct, the Journal Sentinel reported. He was treated at a local hospital and released.
More than a dozen businesses were damaged and about 50 people were arrested, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said in a statement.
“Instead of protesting in the honor of Mr. George Floyd and Mr. Joel Acevedo, many individuals used this as an opportunity to damage property, destroy businesses, commit robbery, fire shots, and steal property for their personal gain,” Morales said.
Residents stepped in during the protest and helped put out a fire at a Walgreens in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood. Crews were busy Saturday cleaning debris at businesses that had been vandalized and looted.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gales of Wisconsin said the violence and property damage accomplished nothing and federal authorities are prepared to address criminal action.
“Federal law imposes stiff penalties for commercial arson and other crimes,” Gales said in a statement. “I encourage everyone to act in peace so that our nation can promote healing rather than suffer new wounds.”
Protests occurred around the country over Floyd’s death earlier this week in Minneapolis. Floyd died after an officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he pleaded for air and stopped moving.
Derek Chauvin, who was fired from the police force, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.