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Donald Trump has said initial evidence suggests the shooting of African-American Sylville Smith by police in Milwaukee was justified.

Sylville Smith’s death led to protests in a predominantly African-American part of the city on August 13.

The Republican presidential nominee told Fox News after visiting police in the city: “We have to obey the laws or we don’t have a country.”

Donald Trump later addressed a rally there.

A string of fatal police shootings have sparked demonstrations across the United States.

Protesters say the police are too ready to use lethal force against African-Americans.Sylville Smith death Milwaukee protests

In the latest incident, Sylville Smith, 23, was stopped by police and then fled.

According to officials, Sylville Smith was shot because he was carrying an illegal handgun and had refused to drop it.

“The gun was pointed at his [a police officer’s] head supposedly ready to be fired,” said Donald Trump.

“Who can have a problem with that? That’s what the narrative is. Maybe it’s not true. If it is true, people shouldn’t be rioting.”

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has put the state’s National Guard on standby but it has not been used.

Donald Trump, who met Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke on August 16, has been vocal in his support for the police throughout his campaign.

He trails rival Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the polls, ahead of November’s presidential election, after a series of controversial remarks.

At the Milwaukee campaign rally on August 16, Donald Trump said African-American communities were hurt the most by violence in their neighborhoods.

“The war on police is a war on all peaceful citizens who want to be able to work and live and send their kids to school in safety.

“Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter or the robber or the looter or the violent disruptor, of which there are many.”

Donald Trump accused Hilalry Clinton of being indirectly responsible for the unrest in Milwaukee by supporting those who see police as a racist force in the US.


Shots have been fired at several locations during new protests in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, police say, as demonstrators took to the streets for a second night.

Protests erupted on August 13 after 23-year-old African-American Sylville Smith was shot dead in a police chase.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Sylville Smith did not drop a gun he was holding when told to do so.

Police violence against the black community in the past two years has prompted huge protests.

The Milwaukee Police Department tweeted that shots had been fired at several locations before and after midnight on August 14, local time.Sylville Smith death Milwaukee protests

Rocks were also thrown at police as they attempted to disperse crowds in the Burleigh area. Officers were making “multiple arrests” in the Sherman and Burleigh districts, police said.

One civilian had earlier been taken to hospital after he suffered a gunshot wound.

Local news footage also showed a car on fire.

On August 13, cars and buildings, including a petrol station, had been set ablaze.

According to Milwaukee police, Sylville Smith had fled from a car after being stopped by officers in traffic on Saturday afternoon; he died from his injuries at the scene.

Sylville Smith had a “lengthy arrest record”, police said on August 14.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported the man had been charged over a shooting and witness intimidation, charges that were eventually dropped.

Milwaukee police chief Edward Flynn did not say what prompted officers to stop Sylville Smith’s car, saying only that he was “behaving suspiciously”.

Footage of the shooting was captured by a body camera worn by the officer who fired the shots, who was African-American.

On August 14, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker made the National Guard available to Milwaukee police should more violence occur later in the day.

Khalif Rainey, who represents the area where the violence hit on Milwaukee’s city council, said people were “tired of living under this oppression” in a city that is 40% black.

In 2014, police shot dead an unarmed black man, Dontre Hamilton, in Milwaukee, leading to protests in the city. Prosecutors chose not to charge the officer responsible.

In December, the DoJ said it would carry a full review of Milwaukee’s police department, at its request, to look into areas for improvement.