MILWAUKEE – Violence that caused police in riot gear to respond to the city's Juneteenth festival was unrelated to the day of celebration and its activities, the event's president said.
Police dispersed the crowd at Tuesday's celebration after a man was pulled from a car and beaten and an officer was injured trying to break up a fight.
A group leaving the area after the festival ended about 6 p.m. attacked at least two cars, including the vehicle and driver who was beaten, police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said.
The man, 33, sustained facial cuts and a broken tooth in the attack, police said.
"You just had a group of individuals that decided that they wanted to do something entirely different. It's just sad that you have a few fools that got out of hand," McArthur Weddle, Juneteenth Day president. He has no plans to change the event next year.
In addition to the man beaten, police also responded to a second fight about a block away.
An officer who was trying to break up a fight between groups of girls was injured when a 17-year-old girl punched the sergeant's riot helmet hard enough to shatter the shield.
The officer had cuts to his face that required three stitches and had scratches to his neck.
The girl was in police custody, facing possible charges of battery to an officer.
Weddle said that, in addition to the police presence, Northcott Neighborhood House had recruited 200 volunteers from various community agencies to provide security.
He said the Juneteenth celebration began with a parade and opening ceremonies, during which the historical significance of the day is discussed, that being the end to slavery.