“It looked like they were just going after white guys, white people.” That’s how Norb Roffers described the scene outside the Wisconsin State Fair on Thursday night to Newsradio 620 WTMJ in Milwaukee. “They were attacking everybody for no reason whatsoever,” he added.
Roffers and others painted a grim and detailed picture of what unfolded during the first day of the fair. “It was 100% racial,” claimed Eric, an Iraq war veteran who told the station that young people beat on his car.
WTMJ sums up their accounts: “Witnesses’ accounts claim everything from dozens to hundreds of young black people beating white people as they left State Fair Thursday night.”
Milwaukee Police confirmed to WTMJ that officers responded to “complaints of battery, fighting and property damage due to a large, unruly crowd.” However, since reports of injuries were still coming in, police could not give a detailed account of what happened. Here is just some of what the witnesses claim to have experienced:
“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.”
“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.”
“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 laying 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.”
“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.”
“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.”