Someone noted the state fair incident. The governor has now called in state troopers to provide more security. Unescorted minors are now also banned after 5:00 pm.
Here's a larger article discussing what happened. Some of the commentary from two Aldermen is ... very telling and somewhat shocking. I've added comments in italics to explain things that may be unknown to those outside of WI.
From http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/126828998.htmlState Patrol called in, youth policy imposed after violence at State Fair
By Don Walker and Mike Johnson of the Journal Sentinel
Gov. Scott Walker has ordered the Wisconsin State Patrol to provide additional law enforcement help at the Wisconsin State Fair after several incidents involving rampaging youths broke out on the fairgrounds and on the streets outside Thursday night.
Cullen Werwie, Walker's spokesman, said the governor made the decision after reviewing the events from Thursday night, in which at least 24 people were arrested.
"We will continue to evaluate the situation and make any adjustments necessary to ensure a successful and safe event. We will be doing everything in our power to ensure that parents feel that it is safe to bring their children to the world's best fair," Werwie said in a statement.
Also, Rick Frenette, CEO of the fair, announced that, because of the violence overnight, the fair would immediately implement a policy in which no youths under 18 years of age would be allowed onto the grounds after 5 p.m. without a parent or guardian who is at least 21 years of age. There will be no changes at the Midway.
Frenette, a veteran of 40 years in the fair management business, said he had never implemented such a policy before. The International Association of Fairs and Expositions said there is only one other fair in the country -- the South Carolina State Fair -- that has such a policy.
On Friday afternoon, Mayor Tom Barrett announced an increase in police presence at community events planned for the week. He said there would be no tolerance for violence at festivals and that perpetrators will be prosecuted -- regardless of race.
"Two years ago I was a victim of a random attack at State Fair… last night's events took place at State Fair that I don't believe are random," he said at a City Hall news conference.Mike's note: Two years ago, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett witnessed a domestic dispute outside of the WI State Fair. The mayor tried to intervene and was beat by a man with a pipe who was attacking a woman. You can read more about this at http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/53347442.html.
Barrett didn't indicate if he believed the events were racially charged.
Barrett said this weekend is of special importance because of the Historic Third Association Jazz festival, the African World Festival and the Milwaukee Comedy Festival in addition to the fair. He said police presence will be increased at all events.
Alds. Bob Donovan and Joe Dudzik issued a joint statement in reaction to the violence: "Let's face it, it also has much to do with a deteriorating African American culture in our city. Are large groups of Hispanics or Hmong going out in large mobs and viciously attacking whites? No."Mike's note: This sort of talk is ... unheard of ... from most elected officials in the area. I'm shocked to see this, much less see it in print.
On Friday, police from three jurisdictions - West Allis, Milwaukee and Wisconsin State Fair - were piecing together a series of incidents late Thursday night at the fair in which large groups of youths rampaged through the midway and outside the grounds after closing. At least 24 were arrested, and seven officers were hurt, a State Fair official said.
Tom Struebing, chief of the State Fair Police, said two of the seven injured officers were hospitalized. One was hit in the face with an improvised weapon; the other suffered a concussion.Mike's note: It's pretty crazy, even around here, to hear about police being beaten by mobs of youths.
Struebing said the fights that broke out in the midway area involved black youths fighting other black youths. He said those fights were not racially motivated.
The incidents at the fair also caused confusion among police agencies. Anne E. Schwartz, the Milwaukee police spokeswoman, said West Allis police did not request mutual aid from the Milwaukee Police Department.
Schwartz said Milwaukee police responded to four incidents connected to the fair incidents, but those came from citizens calling police directly. She said one person was arrested by Milwaukee police on a warrant.
Officials could not say what started what witnesses said was a series of racially charged incidents that apparently began as early as 7 p.m. in the midway. The midway is located just east of the Pettit National Ice Center and adjacent to the Hank Aaron State Trail.
Milwaukee police confirmed there were assaults outside the fair as the fair was closing down. The fair closes at 11 p.m.
A State Fair official said most of those arrested were cited for disorderly conduct.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn scheduled a news conference later Friday afternoon to discuss the incidents and his department's involvement. He is expected to be joined by officials of the NAACP and the Historic Third Ward Association, which is sponsoring Saturday's Historic Third Ward Jazz Festival.
Common Council President Willie Hines said he was at the fair Thursday night and witnessed black on black crime, but did not see any blacks attack whites.
He said that if there was, those individuals should be charged with the crime as well as a hate crime.
"They should be penalized for the prime incident and we should have a racial enhancer," Hines said.
Hines said State Fair Police acted appropriately and professionally. "They were working hard to control the chaos," Hines said.
He said there may have been some coordination problems with other police departments outside the grounds of the fair.
Witnesses report attacks
Witnesses told WTMJ-AM (620) that dozens to hundreds of young black people were beating white people as they left the fair late Thursday night. Patrice Harris, a spokeswoman for the fair, said a police alert she was given indicated four people were hurt.
"It looked like they were just going after white guys, white people," Norb Roffers of Wind Lake told WTMJ. He said he left the State Fair entrance near the corner of S. 84th St. and W. Schlinger Ave. in West Allis.
One eyewitness, a concession worker who works near the midway area, told the Journal Sentinel that large groups of African-American youths ran through the midway area, knocking over young children and adults, disrupting midway rides and tearing signs up.
"I have never seen anything like it," the worker said. "It was mob mentality."
The concession worker said the incidents began at 7 p.m. "All of a sudden a wave of kids were running through the midway," he said.
The worker said there was police, including officers on horseback, as well as other security, but it was not enough.
"All of a sudden we were hearing whistles," the worker said.
A 34-year-old Muskego man said he was riding on the Ferris wheel in the midway with one of his children when he heard shouts of "fight."
"The trouble really started somewhere between 7 and 8 p.m.," said the man, who did not want to be identified because he was worried about the safety of his family. "We just heard this roar start. It was almost like you're at a football game and a touchdown is scored and you just hear the crowd start roaring."
"I've never seen anything like this in my life. There were hundreds - like 200 to 300 would be my guess. It wasn't like 10 or 20. There was definitely a fight going on in the middle. There were so many people you couldn't see who was fighting. There was just this big group that kept growing and chanting, 'fight, fight, fight.' "
"That lasted for one to two minutes. Then when security showed up blowing some whistles, all of this mob started running. It was like a herd of cattle," he said.
The man described the crowd gathered around the fight as African-American, predominantly male and mainly 15- to 20-year-olds.
Fights break out
Another eyewitness, a Children's Hospital of Wisconsin worker who was with his wife, a daughter, a friend of his daughter's, a brother and a sister-in-law, said they arrived at the midway at 9:15 p.m.
At about 9:40 p.m., he said he saw the first of two fights break out.
"I couldn't see who was fighting but there was an incredible mob mentality," he said. The eyewitness estimated the mob at between 30 to 50 black youths.
"We felt threatened. Without a doubt," the eyewitness said.
He said a game-booth operator allowed his group to seek shelter in the booth while fights broke out.
"Fortunately, the police on horses arrived quite quickly," the eyewitness said.
The eyewitness said he was the recipient of several racially charged comments from the black youths. At one point, he said, he approached a security guard and told him he had better get more security to the scene. He said he told the security officer that "trouble was brewing."
"The scariest part is that we were trapped between the midway and the exits by the mob, we had no way out. It was very frightening," the hospital worker said. "It was glaringly obvious something was going to happen long before it did," the hospital worker said.
One woman, a Marquette University employee, had left the fair with a friend. She said they had just turned onto S. 84th St., across the street from the fair and were headed north toward I-94 when they saw young black youths running between cars on the street.
"Then groups of kids began surging, all running at cars," she said. "Some kids ran up on the hood of the car in front of us, bounced on it and jumped off. That guy looked like he got out of the car. When he came back his face was bloody."
She said she wasn't sure if the man was able to get medical attention. "I saw somebody in the car with cellphones, probably calling police."
"It was scary and it was confusing," she added. "We didn't know what was happening. We didn't see any law enforcement officer."
She said she and her friend were concerned that somebody would try to break into their car. "There were so many people coming at you. Yes, it was scary."
Another woman said she and her boyfriend were leaving the fair on a motorcycle about 11:30 p.m. Thursday when she saw a "mob of black teens picking on a very tall white teen" around S. 84th St. and W. Greenfield Ave.
"I stated to my boyfriend that there is going to be problems over there and I hope the cops are watching this and within seconds I saw the white teen attempting to punch his way out of a circle of black teens," the woman said in an e-mail to the newspaper. "My heart just fell for him. As we turned, I saw security at the entrance to the State Fair and I yelled get over there! They are beating up a kid! We turned, as we went toward the expressway we then had to witness the police involved in multiple stops and incidents down 84th."
Harris said Friday that police officers were involved in breaking up numerous fights at the midway. She could not immediately provide a number, but said a number of arrests were made. Most of the arrests were for disorderly conduct.
"Throughout the night we had fights, but that's not atypical," Harris said.
Rick Pries of Milwaukee had spent the entire day at the fair with a friend and her two grandchildren.
"We were in the midway and it was very crowded. While the kids were waiting in line I noticed large groups of black males running through the very crowded midway, yelling there was a fight," Pries said. "There were several of these large groups all converging to this location."
Pries said he decided to take the two children he was watching out of a line they were waiting in and leave the fair.
"There was very little security," he said. "And the few that were there would have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of troublemakers," Pries said.
The concession worker said he was not personally hassled, but he was concerned the youths would attempt to take his cash register. He closed his concession stand early for safety reasons.
"I was planning to take my kids to the fair tonight," he said Friday morning. "I definitely won't now."
The Wisconsin State Fair is located in different jurisdictions. The north side of the fairgrounds from the Hank Aaron State Trail north is in the city of Milwaukee. The rest of the fair is in West Allis. Adding to the confusion is that the Wisconsin State Fair Park police has jurisdiction only on the fairgrounds, not outside of it.
The fair incidents are similar to mob-like disturbances that occurred over the Fourth of July weekend in Milwaukee.
About 60 young people beat and robbed a smaller group that had been watching fireworks from Kilbourn Reservoir Park. The injured people were white; the attackers were African-American, witnesses said.
Another group looted a convenience store at a gas station at the corner E. North Ave. and N. Humboldt Blvd.
The incidents Thursday night come as the State Fair board over the last decade has worked to increase diversity at the annual fair, expanding its entertainment lineup and marketing to appeal to a younger, more multicultural audience. Diversity was a priority for State Fair Park Chairman Martin Greenberg, who spoke often of making it "truly the people's park" - a "place of inclusion, not exclusion."
Thursday night's Main Stage performer was rapper MC Hammer, but a number of people who attended the concert said the show wasn't to blame at all for the disturbances at the fair. One woman said the crowd watching Hammer was mostly white and adult and any children there seemed to be with parents.
Another woman said the concert was "very laid back and had no craziness that we witnessed at all. The craziness was in the midway," she said.
Journal Sentinel staff writers Rustin Fakheri, Breann Schossow and Annysa Johnson contributed to this report.
I'm still sort of surprised. Riverwest on the Fourth of July weekend is one thing. The State %$#@! Fair??! I don't know what to say to this.