Tuesday Protests: Milwaukee Police Say Molotov Cocktail Thrown At Officers, Didn't Ignite

Jun 2, 2020

For the most up-to-date information, read WUWM's latest protest post

Protests are happening around the country following the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck. In Milwaukee, protests have been occurring since last Friday over Floyd's death and other cases of police brutality. Here you'll find updates on protests happening in the Milwaukee area.

You can check out the rest of WUWM's protest coverage:
>>Monday, June 1
>>Sunday, May 31
>>Saturday, May 30
>>Friday, May 29

Wednesday, 10:45 a.m.: "Kneel For Nine" Gatherings Took Place Tuesday In The Milwaukee Area

A crowd of about 50 people participated in "Kneel For Nine" in South Shore Park in Milwaukee Tuesday.
Credit Audrey Nowakowski / WUWM

"Kneel For Nine" gatherings that took place at various locations across the Milwaukee area Tuesday.

At South Shore Park, a crowd of about 50 people, mostly from Vineyard Milwaukee Church, knelt for nine minutes — about the length of time a Minneapolis officer knelt on George Floyd's neck.

Vineyard Milwaukee co-lead pastor Dave Anderson led the group, with the aim to bring people together. He said, "We were really trying to ... have a time of peaceful unity but that it would almost become a step of commitment for people to say, 'Hey, listen, I'm taking an action. I'm taking a step. I'm actually taking a knee.' And feel the uncomfortability of nine minutes and sit in that however you want, whether you want to pray, go live and speak your frustration or you just want to be quiet and silent. But, let this be sort of a culminating, or a catalyst, movement for you to step into being internally aware."

Christina Tekus took part in the gathering and told WUWM: "I came here tonight because I am a teacher, I am a mother of an eight-year-old black son, and I am a member of the Vineyard Milwaukee. And, I came to show my support and pray for everybody that's been feeling kind of lost and don't know really what to do and how to be an ally, so I thought this was a good way to show my support in a relatively peaceful way and be with my church."

- Audrey Nowakowski, Ann-Elise Henzl

Updated Wednesday at 7:46 a.m.: Police Say Molotov Cocktail Thrown At Officers, Didn't Ignite

Around 8:30 p.m., the Milwaukee Police Department issued an official order for protestors to disperse after a confrontation at 6th and McKinley in downtown Milwaukee. The department is now saying a Molotov cocktail was thrown at officers that did not ignite.

In videos taken at the scene, a line of officers in riot gear is shown shooting tear gas cannisters and marching toward protestors to push them back.

One protest organizer encouraged participants to go home at 9 p.m., because of the escalation in police response, but a caravan of protestors continued past that time, moving around the east side and downtown. There is no city curfew in effect. 

- Emily Files

Tuesday, 8:34 p.m.: Police Order Protestors To Disperse

After confronting protestors with tear gas and rubber bullets in downtown Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Police Department tweeted that protestors have been ordered to disperse “due to unlawful assembly after throwing rocks and glass at our officers.”

MPD says a suspect with a gun who was in the crowd was taken into custody. Protestors scattered after the police used tear gas and rubber bullets at McKinley and 6th around 7:30 p.m. But they regrouped and continued to march on the east side of Milwaukee.

In a Facebook Live video, a protest leader announced to the crowd gathered on Brady Street that they would end the protest at 9 p.m. for everyone's safety because of the escalation in the police response. Whether all the marchers will stop remains to be seen. 

- Emily Files

7:44 p.m.: Police Use Tear Gas And Rubber Bullets Against Protestors

According to tweets from reporters and others at the protest, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd near 6th and McKinley. The Journal Sentinel reports there were about 100 officers at the scene, and they told protestors to disperse or face arrest. 

Freelance journalist Graham Kilmer posted a picture of the objects police shot to disperse protestors. The marchers scattered but eventually continued on, heading north.

- Emily Files

6:43 p.m.: Milwaukee Protest Made Its Way Onto I-794, Then Back Off

Protesters in Milwaukee were on Interstate 794 in the Third Ward on Tuesday night.

But they weren't on the interstate for long. 

The march in Milwaukee appears like it's still going strong. The others over the last few days have lasted into the early hours of the next day.

-Lauren Sigfusson

4:41 p.m. Barrett Says No Curfew For Milwaukee Tuesday 

After three straight nights of curfews, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says there won't be one on Tuesday night. But he says he would still set a curfew if necessary.

Tuesday's protest has made its way from Bay View to downtown. At around 4:40 p.m. the crowd was at the Milwaukee Police Administration Building.

-Lauren Sigfusson

2:33 p.m.: Evers Calls On Wisconsin Legislature To Pass Police Use Of Force Reform

Gov. Tony Evers says it’s time for systemic change to address racism in Wisconsin and around the country. He wants the state Legislature to act by immediately passing a bill designed to reform use of force policies.

Evers calls the legislation a first step. When law enforcement must act, he says the goal should be to preserve life and minimize the use of force.

His call for compassion and action comes after four nights of intense protest, sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In cities around the country, including Madison and Milwaukee, nonviolent protests have devolved into destructive ones.

-Susan Bence

2:28 p.m.: Protesters March Through Bay View To Downtown Milwaukee

Protesters in Milwaukee are marching for the fifth day in a row on Tuesday. They started in Bay View and are currently heading downtown. 

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was spotted marching with protesters.

-Lauren Sigfusson

Editor's note: The Milwaukee Police Department originally said Molotov cocktails were thrown at officers, it later said a Molotov cocktail. WUWM updated its copy to reflect this change.