- Feb 10, 2005
- Reaction score
- Montgomery, Al
Milwaukee - Did you witness the attacks outside State Fair, or were you attacked? Were you hurt? E-mail us your story!
WEST ALLIS - Witnesses tell Newsradio 620 WTMJ and TODAY'S TMJ4 of a mob of young people attacking innocent fair-goers at the end of the opening night of State Fair, with some callers claiming a racially-charged scene.
Milwaukee Police confirmed there were assaults outside the fair.
Witnesses' accounts claim everything from dozens to hundreds of young black people beating white people as they left State Fair Thursday night.
Authorities have not given official estimates of the number of people involved in the attacks.
"It looked like they were just going after white guys, white people," said Norb Roffers of Wind Lake in an interview with Newsradio 620 WTMJ. He left the State Fair Entrance near the corner of South 84th Street and West Schlinger Avenue in West Allis.
"They were attacking everybody for no reason whatsoever."
"It was 100% racial," claimed Eric, an Iraq war veteran from St. Francis who says young people beat on his car.
"I had a black couple on my right side, and these black kids were running in between all the cars, and they were pounding on my doors and trying to open up doors on my car, and they didn't do one thing to this black couple that was in this car next to us. They just kept walking right past their car. They were looking in everybody's windshield as they were running by, seeing who was white and who was black. Guarantee it."
Eric, a war veteran, said that the scene he saw Thursday outside State Fair compares to what he saw in combat.
"That rated right up there with it. When I saw the amount of kids coming down the road, all I kept thinking was, 'There's not enough cops to handle this.' There's no way. It would have taken the National Guard to control the number of kids that were coming off the road. They were knocking people off their motorcycles."
Roffers claimed that as he left the state fair with his wife, crowds near that entrance were large, and someone in that crowd .
"As we got closer to the street, we looked up the road, and we saw a quite a bit of commotion going on and there was a guy laying in the road, and nobody was even there. He wasn't even moving. Finally a car pulled up. They stopped right next to the guy, and it looked like someone was going to help him. We were kind of stuck, because we couldn't cross. Traffic was going through. Young black men running around, beating on people, and we were like 'Let's get the heck out of here.' The light turned, and I got attacked from behind. I just got hit in the back of the head real hard. I'm like, 'What the heck is going on here?' I heard my bell ring."
Roffers further described what witnesses said happened to the man who was lying in the street.
"People were saying he was on a bike. They tore him off his bike and beat on him. We were walking to the west on Schlinger. I was watching behind me a lot more diligently, making sure there wasn't anybody coming to get us anymore."
One person claimed that someone was knocked off a motorcycle.
TODAY'S TMJ4 video shows West Allis police handcuffing at least one person, but they won't say how many people they took into custody.
Some witnesses described attacks on the State Fair Grounds as well.
Milwaukee Police said that their officers were sent to State Fair Park for "complaints of battery, fighting and property damage due to a large, unruly crowd."
A police sergeant told TODAY'S TMJ4's Melissa McCrady that the number of calls describing injuries are still coming in, so they could not give an accurate number of people who were injured.
That sergeant explained that some injuries were serious, and local hospitals were attending to the injured.
Milwaukee Police said they had no one in custody.
One woman told police that she was sitting in her car with a window down when some teenagers reached through her window and started attacking her.
"I think once we get all the info in it'll be just like that, like what happened in Riverwest," said the police sergeant.
Eric: "I feared for my life"
Eric, who asked Newsradio 620 WTMJ not to use his last name, talked about the incidents that happened as he, his wife and a neighbor left the fair Thursday.
"We exited at the Schlinger and 84th exit, and we walked south about a block, and then went up and got our car, came back up and around down Schlinger. When we made a left hand turn, we were stopped in traffic. I looked toward the bridge, right before you get on the freeway, and all I saw was a road full of black kids, jumping over people's cars, jumping on people's hoods, running over the top of them."
Eric then claimed that he saw hundreds of young black people coming down a sidewalk.
"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."
Eric claimed that the victim in that beating was by himself, and that there was a split of white people on one sidewalk and black people on the other.
"There was nobody else around to help him. There were no other white people, period, on that side of the street. They were going in the opposite direction because, those people who were coming out of the fair that saw these people coming, they either went back into the fair or took off running south on 84th Street."
Eric expressed anger at the State Fair Police for what he considered a lack of response.
"The thing that irritated me, the State Fair Police, the State Police, were down by the Pettit entrance to get in there," said Eric. "There was probably 5 or 6 officers down there. That's where all these kids came from. They came out of the Midway, across the front of the Pettit. They were still filing out of there. The State Fair Police, they knew this was going on. They knew these kids were beating these guys in between that exit and Schlinger at the next gate."
"They were stopping traffic, and I said 'What in the hell,' excuse my language, 'what are you guys doing directing traffic when there are 300, 400 black kids up the road beating the hell out of everybody, pushing people off of motorcycles?' I was livid. I could not believe they were directing traffic."
Roffers: "What in the hell's going on there?"
Roffers described his emotions and reactions to the attacks outside the park.
"I turned around and looked, there was this black kid standing there laughing, thinking it's funny. My wife's like, 'Let's get out of here.' It's one of those things, you don't expect it. Your reaction to it is, first of all, quite surprised, then you get so angry, it's like, 'What in the hell's going on there? Why are these guys acting like such hoodlums? What are they picking on anybody for?' We were just like cattle being herded out of the park, and they were picking and choosing who they wanted to beat on."
He said his injuries were limited to a headache.
Roffers said the attack wouldn't stop him from attending the State Fair.
"We will be going back," said Roffers.
"It's a family event for us. We get together with our family and we do stuff at the park to enjoy the fair. My biggest concern is that the State Fair Park Police and West Allis get their heads out of their butts and figure out how to do some security over there. This isn't the first year State Fair has been going on. They should know what the heck they've got to do and where they've got to have people in place by now."
But according to Roffers, they did not have enough people there to handle the crowds, and he claims that the main stage acts - MC Hammer, Young MC and Tone Loc, were the draw for a crowd he claimed was there.
"I think the headliner they had last night is what drew the type of crowd they had last night. I've never been at that fair where they had so many African-American people. There's never usually that many of them, at that park, for whatever reason that I can figure."
He said that the fear spread beyond those who he believed were the target.
"There were a lot of people scared," claimed Roffers.
"There were even some young black girls. They were screaming. They were running across the road. This one girl was like, 'I don't know how I'm going to get out of here. I'm all by myself.' My wife heard her saying that. She said, 'Walk with us. Stay with us and you'll be OK.' We told her we were going down the street. If she needed any assistance, we were just going down to our car. She needed to go quite a way."
"There was this terror going on when you leave the place, you just wonder. Luckily, all the violence that was happening stayed right close by the park entrance. As we got a block away from the park, that's when the cops started showing up."
He said the lack of police and security presence will bring about his complaint up the various channels of State Fair and local police.
"They should be able to provide safety and traffic control," said Roffers. "I've never worried about it before."
He said he would give a written complaint to the State Fair and put in a call to West Allis Police, but that's not all.
"I will be contacting the State Fair Park Board and I'm going to chew on their butts a little bit about what happened."
State Fair spokeswoman: "Unfortunate situation, hopefully an isolated situation."