A state of emergency is in effect in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after demonstrators burned cars and businesses while protesting the police shooting death of Sylville Smith, a Black man killed by a Black police officer.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker activated the National Guard and plans to deploy troops if the violence continues.
According to police, Smith was shot because he refused to drop his gun, for which he allegedly had a conceal carry permit. Prior to the shooting, Smith reportedly fled from a routine traffic stop.
The Milwaukee Police Department has not released body camera footage of the fatal shooting and claim missing audio as the reason.
On Monday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Roland Martin spoke with State Senator Lena C. Taylor from Wisconsin’s 4th District about the killing of Sylville Smith and the subsequent unrest in one of America’s most segregated cities.
When asked if the release of the police body camera footage would help ease tensions in Milwaukee, Taylor said, “They released pictures, stills, and items all the time and so I think it is necessary.”
Taylor believes releasing the video of the shooting is important, especially in this case where you have a “community that has challenges with community-police relationships.”
State Sen. Taylor added, “When you have challenges with the community that does not trust because of a lack of justice, it’s just us in the system that is treated differently.
“We’re dealing with a community that feels so much trauma … that they have no concern about what the consequences in some ways may be because they feel they’ve been so mistreated for so long.”
She then reiterated, “I think it’s important to give them the video.”
Taylor went on to explain the plight of the African-American community in Milwaukee, which has been called the “worst place to be Black in America” and called the unemployment rate for Black men in the city “outrageous.”
“It is a place where there is little hope, where people feel hopeless,” said Taylor. She later added, “It’s a powder keg without a doubt.”
Watch Roland Martin, Wisconsin State Sen. Lena C. Taylor, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the unrest in Milwaukee in the video clip above.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty