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Milwaukee on edge as racial tensions boil over

Katie Couric
·Global Anchor
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“The last few days have been really, really sad for me, because we’ve seen this powder keg develop over time,”
Rep. Gwen Moore told Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric.

Couric traveled to Milwaukee after violent protests erupted in the city following the recent shooting death of an African-American man who, according to police, was armed.

“It’s a result of pent-up anger and anxiety for years,” Moore said of the tension in the city, which remains one of the most segregated in the nation.

On Saturday, 23-year-old Sylville Smith and a companion were pulled over by police. When Smith fled, officials say he was ordered to drop his weapon but he refused to do so.

Moore, who represents Wisconsin’s Fourth Congressional District, told Couric that the issue for many protesters isn’t Smith’s guilt or innocence.

“The issue is, was he being stopped, like most African-American men feel like they experience in this community, that they’re being stopped simply for driving while being black?”

The officer who shot Smith is also African-American.

“It’s very ironic,” Moore told Couric.

“But I do think it’s important to note that those two young men took different paths. One of them is a police officer. And the other … is a part of the community where the majority of their income may have come from underground, illegal activities.”

Moore says there is no justification for the kind of violence the city has seen since the shooting, but hopes the turmoil will ultimately lead to a more constructive conversation.

“If this unrest can be the platform for a dialogue about how to bring resources here, for recreation for young people, for jobs, for rebuilding our manufacturing economy — if this is going to be the platform for it, then I can’t say it will have been worth it, but it will have at least been redemptive.”