Protests continue throughout Milwaukee

Last updated on June 3rd, 2020 at 02:07 pm

Demonstrators again took to Milwaukee’s streets Tuesday, the fifth day in a row of protests decrying racism and police brutality, sparked by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

Monday’s lengthy and largely peaceful protest began in early evening on the city’s north side and made its way through several neighborhoods including Bronzeville, downtown, the Historic Third Ward, and the East Side before marching north into Shorewood and then Whitefish Bay.

The march ended around 3 a.m. when police intervened, according to coverage by Urban Milwaukee’s Jeramey Jannene, who reported the total distance of the route was more than 15 miles.

Protesters didn’t seem phased by the third night of a 9 p.m. citywide curfew, despite multiple emergency alerts sent to mobile devices and Milwaukee Police Department taking to social media, threatening to arrest those who “participate in civil unrest.”

Several protesters were arrested in downtown Milwaukee Monday night after the curfew went into affect, according to a report by WISN 12 News, a media partner of BizTimes Milwaukee.

Holding signs and chanting in unison, peaceful protesters stopped at major intersections or landmarks along the route such as Red Arrow park on North Water Street to rally and hear from organizers. Hundreds on foot walked in front of and alongside half as many cars, some of which drove up on sidewalks and lawns frequently honking. Protesters chanted “walk with us” at bystanders outside their homes or on porches and cheered loudly when some joined.

Protesters chanted “hands up, don’t shoot” and “walk with us” at city and suburban police officers dressed in riot gear stationed along the route. Police officers and vehicles created blockades at a few intersections along the route, which redirected most vehicle traffic. Protesters on foot were able to march past police until arriving in Whitefish Bay.

The Milwaukee Police Department reportedly arrested a total of 109 people for violating curfew on Saturday and Sunday nights, including Milwaukee County Supervisor Ryan Clancy. MPD did not immediately respond to requests for information about arrests made Monday.

Although Milwaukee’s protests have remained largely peaceful, especially during daytime hours, dozens of business and buildings in the city have been hit with vandalism and looting at night.

MPD reported 36 businesses were looted over the weekend, including the Walgreens, Boost Mobile and Fast & Friendly grocery store near North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and West Locust Street, Jet Beauty Supply and two Boost Mobile stores on West Burleigh Street, according to local reports. A Cricket Wireless store on Capitol Drive was broken into twice in 24 hours, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

A fire was started early Monday morning inside the Milwaukee Harley-Davidson dealership at 11310 W. Silver Spring Road when an unknown suspect threw a molotov cocktail, shattering the front glass doors, said Brooke Eastin, the business’ marketing director.

Police are investigating the incident, which may or may not have been related to the Sunday night protests.

“We can only assume,” said Eastin, adding the business loves the neighborhood and tries to support it as much as it can.

One motorcycle burned and a few were damaged, but overall it was a minor incident and the dealership is open for business as usual. Aside from plywood mounted on to the building’s front doors, it’s difficult to tell that there was any damage, she said.

“Quite honestly, the violence and destruction like this take away from the true message of what’s really going on right now and we just really need to focus on making things better for everybody in our community,” said Eastin. “We just want to support, we don’t even want to focus on the bad. We want to focus on the true message.”

Miller Park was broken into around 7 a.m. on Tuesday, according to the Milwaukee Brewers. An unarmed man caused “minor damage” to the field before he was apprehended by law enforcement. Additional details were not immediately available.

Tuesday morning also brought reports of damage to a The Hop streetcar stop on the East Side.

Organizers used Facebook to organize Tuesday’s Justice for George Floyd Peaceful Protest, which was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at Humboldt Park and make its way south to Bay View. Organizers urged protestors to remain peaceful, writing, “If anyone starts to destroy anything, I will personally call you out and ask you to leave. We cannot destroy communities that we are trying to help.”

Protestors were also reminded to wear masks in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Get more news and insight in the May 25 issue of BizTimes Milwaukee. Subscribe to get updates in your inbox here.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer started as an intern reporter at BizTimes in summer 2015. She currently covers entertainment, sports, tourism and restaurants. In May 2017, she graduated with a journalism degree from Marquette University where she worked as an in-depth projects reporter for the Marquette Wire and Marquette Tribune.

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