UPDATE: Police Tapes Document Wisconsin State Fair Wilding
Video of Wisconsin State Fair mob beatings
A mob that has been described as dozens to 100 black teenagers ran through the Wisconsin State Fair at closing time last night, beating white people at random.
Witnesses said the group of African-American teenagers ran through the parking lot and banged on cars, attacking only vehicles with white people inside. One witness said the mob pulled a kid from his bike and beat him in the street. Others said the teens looted the Midway games and stole prizes.
"We did make several arrests--under 10, as far as I know," said Lt. Chad Evenson of the West Allis Police Department.[jump] Two witnesses said the attacks appeared to be racially motivated, although Evenson would not say whether the police department agreed. He also did not know how many people had been hurt.
Here is one harrowing witness account of the rioting:
"I saw them grab this white kid who was probably 14 or 15 years old. They just flung him into the road. They just jumped on him and started beating him. They were kicking him. He was on the ground. A girl picked up a construction sign and pushed it over on top of him. They were just running by and kicking him in the face."
Then, Eric talked about trying to get out of the car to help the victim.
"My wife pulled me back in because she didn't want me to get hit. Thankfully, there was surprising a lady that was in the car in front of me that jumped out of the car real quick and went over there to try to put her body around the kid so they couldn't see he was laying there and, obviously, defenseless. Her husband, or whoever was in the car, was screaming at her to get back into the car. She ended up going back into the car. These black kids grabbed this kid off the ground again, and pulled him up over the curb, onto the sidewalk and threw him into the bushes like he was a piece of garbage."
Evenson did provide one bit of information that suggests the initial police assessment of the situation was pretty different from the crowd's: "We only had one rescue squad respond to the area," he says. "Apparently prior to that, the rescue squad was called off."
The mob attack is the second that appears to be racially motivated in the Milwaukee area this summer. Over the 4th of July, a group of black teenagers attacked white people at a park in the city's Riverwest neighborhood and yelled racial taunts at their victims.
Rick Frenette, CEO of the Wisconsin State Fair, also announced changes to the Fair's attendance policy:
"All youth under the age of 18 years of age will be required to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian 21 years of age or older to be admitted to the Wisconsin State Fair after 5 p.m.," Frenette said. "We will not tolerate this behavior at the Wisconsin State Fair again."
The police chief for the fairgrounds said his officers arrested 24 people--that's in addition to the fewer than 10 arrested by West Allis cops. Seven State Fair cops were injured in the melee, two of them seriously enough to go to the hospital.
"One of our officers was hit in the face with an improvised weapon. He was hospitalized," said Tom Streuberg, chief of police for the State Fair. "A second officer was hit in the back of the head. He received a concussion and he was also hospitalized."
Inside the fairgrounds, the black-against-white dynamic described by patrons just outside the fair did NOT seem to be the case, Streuberg noted.
"Most of the fights that we had were African-Americans fighting with other African-Americans," Streuberg said. "We did not have any reports of, in our jurisdiction, of any racially-motivated fights. I can't speak for West Allis or Milwaukee."
Watch the video of the press conference here.