Racial tensions boil over in Milwaukee

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The recent police shooting death of an African-American man who authorities say was armed, led to violent protests erupting in Milwaukee, which remains one of the most segregated cities in the nation.

On Saturday, 23-year-old Sylville Smith and a companion were pulled over by police. When Smith fled, officials say he was ordered to drop his weapon but he refused to do so.

I traveled to the city to meet with Rep. Gwen Moore who told me, “The last few days have been really, really sad for me, because we’ve seen this powder keg develop over time… It’s a result of pent-up anger and anxiety for years.”

Moore, who represents Wisconsin’s Fourth Congressional District, told me that the issue for many protesters isn’t Smith’s guilt or innocence.

“The issue is, was he being stopped, like most African-American men feel like they experience in this community… simply for driving while being black?”

The officer who shot Smith is also African-American.

“I do think it’s important to note that those two young men took different paths. One of them is a police officer. And the other … is a part of the community where the majority of their income may have come from underground, illegal activities.”

Moore was clear that she feels there is no justification for the type of violence the city has seen since the shooting, but hopes it will lead to a more constructive conversation.

Watch my complete Yahoo News interview with Rep. Gwen Moore below.

Written by

Founder, Katie Couric Media. Newscaster: Wake-Up Call. Podcaster: Next Question. Doc filmmaker. @SU2C founder.

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