Milwaukee’s riots have seemingly evaporated from the national and international stage. Even in the city itself, people seem to not want to acknowledge the two day’s of unrest that occurred. The wounds which catalyzed the chaos continue to fester, perhaps brewing for another climax. Cop Block contributor, video producer, and journalist Isiah Holmes witnessed Milwaukee’s militarization from the nearby suburb of Wauwatosa.
For two days, I turned my camera to the sky to document what could only be described as surveillance craft. The planes, which were rotor-based–similar to those sighted over Boston, Baltimore and others–circled riot zones as militarized authorities patrolled the ground.
Even once the riots ended, however, the planes simply increased their sweeps over suburbs before disappearing themselves. Another plane, sighted by myself and a friend on the first night, flew from west to east emitting an unknown spray. These, and other features of the militarization, were reflected upon in a piece I wrote for The Fifth Column News.
Although the national guard was activated, officials insisted they hadn’t been deployed. This was even expressed in the form of a headline circulated on television by the local FOX outlet. Not only did I myself witness military helicopters circling the city the first night, but other residents saw their vehicles on the ground. Both the first and second nights were filmed, no official explanation for the aircraft was ever given.
This is a screenshot of the television headline from FOX 6 stating national guard hadn’t been deployed. One resident reported an armored, marked national guard vehicle speeding towards where police were amassing.
The biggest question that still haunts my mind following those nights is the militarized response. What exactly where the planes which flew over the city for at least 4 days? Who flew them and, if they were surveillance craft, what were they collecting and from whom? Why did the city’s media not report on the obvious air traffic anyone who was standing outside during the riots could see? Why, in fact, did they instead circulate headlines stating no military had been deployed? Will they return? Did they ever leave?