The father of Sylville Smith, an armed black man who was fatally shot by Milwaukee police, sparking a wave of violent protests over the weekend, says his son was a product of bad parenting.
“What are we gonna do now? Everyone playing their part in this city, blaming the white guy or whatever, and we know what they’re doing,” Patrick Smith told a local Fox News affiliate. “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.”
Mr. Smith blamed himself for being a bad role model for his 23-year-old son, who was shot by a black police officer after refusing orders to drop a loaded handgun, which turned out to be stolen, during a traffic stop in Milwaukee’s north side.
“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,” Mr. Smith said. “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.”
The grieving father blasted Wisconsin’s gun laws, saying the availability of firearms is contributing to black-on-black crime.
“This is not the Wild, Wild West, y’all,” he said. “But when you go down to 25th and Center [Street], 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,” he continued. “And we gotta change ourselves. We’ve gotta talk to them, put some sense into them.
“[Police are] targeting us, but we know about it so there’s no reason to keep saying it’s their fault,” Mr. Smith said. “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.”
Angry demonstrators clashed with police Saturday and Sunday night, injuring at least seven officers and setting fire to eight local businesses.
An 18-year-old man is recovering after suffering a single gunshot wound to the neck, and police are looking for suspects.
Seven squad cars were also damaged in the riots and more than 17 arrests were made. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives aggregate losses “are estimated to exceed several million dollars.”
A 10 p.m. curfew for minors will be strictly enforced Monday night, police said.
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