Don Walker, Mike Johnson and Breann Schossow
Fri, 05 Aug 2011 09:54 CDT
© Jeff Sainlar
Extra security officers guard the Wisconsin State Fair on Friday. Witnesses and police reported two separate incidents of mobs of unruly youths on Thursday night, resulting in at least 11 injuries and 31 arrests. Seven of the injured were police officers, and two were hospitalized.
Unprecedented violence on the opening night of the Wisconsin State Fair by rampaging youths prompted extraordinary measures Friday: The head of the fair implemented new rules to keep unattended teens off the grounds at night, and Gov. Scott Walker ordered the State Patrol to help keep order.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Police Chief Ed Flynn, meanwhile, promised Friday to beef up policing at this weekend's major public events around the city to limit any chance of the State Fair events being repeated.
The violence left workers and patrons of the fair in West Allis shaken and reminded many of the mob-like disturbances that occurred over the Fourth of July weekend in Milwaukee.
The trouble at the fair started around 7 p.m. Thursday in the midway area, where amusement rides are located, when fights broke out among black youths, said Tom Struebing, chief of the State Fair Police. Those fights did not appear to be racially motivated.
Then around the closing time of 11 p.m., witnesses told the Journal Sentinel
, dozens to hundreds of black youths attacked white people as they left the fair, punching and kicking people and shaking and pounding on their vehicles.
At least 31 people were arrested - many for disorderly conduct - in connection with the incidents on the fairgrounds and on the streets outside. At least 11 people, seven of them police officers, were injured, officials said. Twenty-four people were arrested within the fairgrounds by State Fair Police. West Allis police arrested seven people, five of them juveniles, outside the fairgrounds.