The father of the man whose fatal shooting by a Milwaukee Police officer sparked days worth of rioting has stepped forward, and while he isn’t blaming the police, he isn’t taking full responsibility, either.
According to Fox 6 Now, Patrick Smith is the father of 23-year-old Sylville Smith, who was shot by a Milwaukee Police officer after the young man pulled a stolen handgun on the officer as he tried to flee.
Since the shooting, riots have broken out in Milwaukee, resulting in police injuries, civilian arrests, one gunshot wound and several buildings being torched.
Speaking out on Sunday, Patrick Smith turned the blame away from the police, instead placing some blame upon himself before shifting the remainder onto lax gun laws.
“What are we gonna do now?” he asked. “Everyone playing their part in this city, blaming the white guy or whatever, and we know what they’re doing. Like, already I feel like they should have never OK’d guns in Wisconsin. They already know what our black youth was doing anyway. These young kids gotta realize this is all a game with them. Like they’re playing Monopoly. You young kids falling into their world, what they want you to do. Everything you do is programmed.
“I had to blame myself for a lot of things too because your hero is your dad and I played a very big part in my family’s role model for them,” he continued. “Being on the street, doing things of the street life: Entertaining, drug dealing and pimping and they’re looking at their dad like ‘he’s doing all these things.’ I got out of jail two months ago, but I’ve been going back and forth in jail and they see those things so I’d like to apologize to my kids because this is the role model they look up to. When they see the wrong role model, this is what you get. They got us killing each other and when they even OK’d them pistols and they OK’d a reason to kill us too. Now somebody got killed reaching for his wallet, but now they can say he got a gun on him and they reached for it. And that’s justifiable.
Smith went on to criticize open carry laws, something many political figures in the more urban areas of Wisconsin -including Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn- have been trying to restrict for many years.
“When we allowed them to say guns is good and it’s legal, we can bear arms,” Smith said. “This is not the wild, wild west y’all. But when you go down to 25th and center, you see guys with guns hanging out this long, that’s ridiculous, and they’re allowing them to do this and the police know half of them don’t have a license to carry a gun. I don’t know when we’re gonna start moving. I’ve gotta start with my kids and we gotta change our ways, to be better role models. And we gotta change ourselves. We’ve gotta talk to them, put some sense into them. They targeting us, but we know about it so there’s no reason to keep saying it’s their fault. You play a part in it. If you know there’s a reason, don’t give in to the hand, don’t be going around with big guns, don’t be going around shooting each other and letting them shoot y’all cause that’s just what they’re doing and they’re out to destroy us and we’re falling for it.”
It is currently unknown whether or not Smith’s son was carrying the stolen Glock 19 in an open-carry holster during the “suspicious stop” that resulted in his demise.
“He (officer) ordered that individual to drop his gun, the individual did not drop his gun,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said. “He had the gun with him and the officer fired several times.”
While the body cam footage from the officer has yet to be released, the Milwaukee Police Department is currently working on releasing it as the investigation continues.
“A young man lost his life (Saturday) afternoon. No matter what, his family has to be hurting. There was a body camera the officer was wearing. The video will be under the jurisdiction of the state of Wisconsin. I have seen a still photo extracted from that video. That photo demonstrates, without question, that (Smith) had a gun in his hand. The police officer didn’t know it at the time, but there were 23 rounds in that gun. He had more bullets in his gun than the police officer had in his gun. What that police officer encountered was an individual who had a gun in his hand,” Barrett said.
Barrett has urged people to police their own and ensure that nobody else is hurt in the wake of the riots that have followed.
“If you love your son, if you love your daughter text them, call them, pull them by the ears and get them home. Get them home right now before more damage is done,” the mayor said.
The National Guard was deployed on Sunday by order of Governor Scott Walker, but have not been used as of yet.
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