23-year-old Sylville Smith was killed by a Milwaukee police officer last week, and the city has been in turmoil ever since. Yet the father of the young man that was shot has come out with an unexpected plea for his community.
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Let’s begin with the facts as we know them. Smith was approached by police during a traffic stop. He exited the vehicle and ran from the officers, who pursued him.
Smith was reportedly carrying a gun. When the officers chased him, he turned toward them. He was told to drop the gun. When he didn’t, an MPD officer shot him in the arm and in the chest.
Various media outlets are reporting that Smith had a history with law enforcement. He had been arrested for possession of heroin, possession of cocaine, his involvement in a shooting and a robbery. He’d been arrested for illegally carrying a concealed gun, theft, and witness intimidation.
The day after the shooting, Smith’s father–Patrick Smith, spoke publicly and admitted that he is responsible. His own criminal background set the wrong example for his son, who didn’t have an adequate role model. Sunday afternoon, Smith’s father, who admits he has had a similar relationship with the law, says he could have done more to ensure his son had someone admirable to look up to.
In an interview with Fox 6 News, Patrick Smith, had this to say:
“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. Like, already I feel like they should have never OK’d guns in Wisconsin. They already know what our black youth was doing anyway. 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.”
“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. 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.”
“They got us killing each other and when they even OK’d them pistols and they OK’d a reason to kill us too. Now somebody got killed reaching for his wallet, but now they can say he got a gun on him and they reached for it. And that’s justifiable. When we allowed them to say guns is good and it’s legal, we can bear arms. This is not the wild, wild west y’all. But when you go down to 25th and center, 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. And we gotta change ourselves. We’ve gotta talk to them, put some sense into them. They targeting us, but we know about it so there’s no reason to keep saying it’s their fault. 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.”
The investigation into Smith’s death is ongoing. So are the protests.
You can watch the interview with Smith below: