UPDATE: Violence At Fair - Mob Of Young People Attacked Fair-Goers

UPDATED: Thursday, August 11, 2011 --- 6:42p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Berlin man has been charged with two misdemeanors in Milwaukee County for allegedly sending threatening and racially charged emails to a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin State Fair.

The messages were sent to Patrice Harris on Aug. 5 after she was seen on a television news conference discussing the assaults and violence at the fair the night before.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/UBWkv ) a hate crime enhancer has been added to the charges against the 49-year-old man because of the content of the threats. Harris is African-American.

The criminal complaint says the messages were traced to the man's email and that during an interview, he admitted sending them. He also said he didn't mean to hurt anyone and was sorry.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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UPDATED Thursday, August 11, 2011 --- 3:30 p.m.

Police: Arrest made in State Fair violence

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) -- The investigation into 11 of the violent incidents on the opening night of the Wisconsin State Fair has resulted in the arrest of a 16-year-old African-American who reportedly told investigators he targeted whites.

West Allis police said Thursday the teen was arrested late Wednesday. The Milwaukee teen was booked on suspicion of attempted robbery and robbery. Police recommend that he face additional penalties for hate crimes.

Police say the teen told investigators whites were chosen because he considered them "easy targets."

On opening night of the fair last week, 31 people were arrested and at least 11 people were hurt. The West Allis Police Department has said race was a factor in the 11 violent incidents it's investigating.

The State Fair has stepped up security since the attacks.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Thursday, August 11, 2011 --- 8:20 a.m.

Police: Race a factor in State Fair violence

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) -- West Allis police say the ongoing investigations into 11 violent incidents on the opening night of the Wisconsin State Fair suggest race did play a role.

The 11 incidents included nine assaults, a robbery and an attempted robbery. All the victims were white or Hispanic and the offenders were described as African-American.

On opening night of the fair last week, 31 people were arrested and at least 11 people were hurt. The West Allis Police Department is handling some of those cases.

The department said Tuesday that its officers arrested seven people in different incidents around the fairgrounds that night. In those cases, which included loitering, police say race did not play a factor.

The State Fair has since stepped up security with additional local and state officers.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Tuesday, August 9, 2011 --- 9:10 p.m.

Police: No hate crimes in these State Fair arrests

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) -- West Allis police are releasing new details about some arrests on the opening night of the Wisconsin State Fair, but say none of those incidents possessed elements that would prompt their prosecution as hate crimes.

WTMJ-AM reports (http://bit.ly/roRWMr ) the Police Department issued a statement Tuesday with new information about a handful of the more than two dozen arrests made last week.

Witnesses reported the opening night attacks seemed to be racially motivated with young African Americans beating up white fair goers, but police say as of now there isn't enough evidence to support those claims.

The State Fair has since stepped up security with the help of local and state officers. There have been no reports of similar widespread incidents since opening night.

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Information from: WTMJ-AM, http://www.620wtmj.com

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Sunday, August 7, 2011 --- 1:28 p.m.

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin State Fair officials say an increased police presence in and around the fairgrounds has led to another peaceful day.

Fair spokeswoman Patrice Harris says Sunday there have been no violent incidents at the fair since Thursday night, when 31 people were arrested and at least 11 people were hurt.

She says in response to the violence the number of police officers and State Patrol troopers increased. There are also new rules requiring anyone under 18 entering the park after 5 p.m. to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Harris says attendance numbers won't be released until after the fair is over, but she says the fairgrounds were packed with families on Saturday.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Saturday, August 6, 2011 --- 11:55 a.m.

Wisconsin State Fair: New rules helped keep peace

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin State Fair officials say more officers and new rules helped keep things calm, a day after dozens of youths fought inside and outside of the grounds.

At least 31 people were arrested and at least 11 people were injured on opening night Thursday.

Fights erupted around 7 p.m. in the Midway area and spread into neighboring streets around closing time.

New rules were implemented Friday that require all people under 18 to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian in order to be admitted to the grounds after 5 p.m.

Gov. Scott Walker also ordered the State Police to help keep order and Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn promised additional officers.

Fair spokeswoman Patrice Harris tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/oHlXc6) that Friday evening was violence free.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Saturday, August 6, 2011 --- 11:15 a.m.

Dozens arrested after attacks at Wisconsin fair

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) -- Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn is calling attacks in and around Wisconsin State Fair Park "reprehensible" and says some people were targeted because of their race.

Dozens of young people started fighting inside the fair's popular Midway on Thursday evening and the violence spilled into the surrounding neighborhoods while overlapping police jurisdictions struggled to quickly react.

More than 30 arrests were made at the fair and 18 people were injured in or around the grounds. Some witnesses said black youths were targeting white fair-goers, though some black people were also attacked.

Some park police officers were also injured.

Wisconsin State Fair Park CEO Rick Frenette says police presence is being increased in response to the violence. Also, anyone under 18 must have a parent or legal guardian after 5 p.m.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Friday, August 5, 2011 --- 1:00 p.m.

From the Wisconsin State Fair:
Wisconsin State Fair Issues New Youth Parental Guardian Admission Policy

West Allis, WI – August 5, 2011 – In response to the incidents in the surrounding neighborhood community of Fair Park on Thursday evening, August 4, Wisconsin State Fair management will implement a new Youth Parental Guardian Admission Policy.

Immediately, the Youth Parental Guardian Admission Policy will go into effect. At 5pm today, Friday, August 5, 2011, the following policy will go into effect at all Fair admission gates.

1. All youth under the age of eighteen (18) years of age are required to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian (age 21+) to be admitted to the Wisconsin State Fair after 5:00pm.

2. Anyone age 18 years or over may be asked to show a valid driver’s license or state identification card for proof of age in order to be admitted to the Wisconsin State Fair without a parent or guardian after 5:00pm.

3. Any young adult under 18 without a valid driver’s license or state identification card and not accompanied by a parent or guardian will not be admitted after 5:00pm.

4. Exceptions and challenges to this policy will be satisfied at the discretion of Fair Management.

“The foremost concern of the management of Wisconsin State Fair is the safety of its Fairgoers, volunteers, vendors, exhibitors and employees,” stated Chief Executive Officer of the Fair Park, Rick Frenette. “The behavior of certain groups of young people last night is not something we will tolerate. The Fair is family-oriented event and we are acting swiftly to protect the safety of those entering the Fairgrounds for the purposes of enjoying the Fair.”

Wisconsin State Fair is working with the State Patrol, City of West Allis and City of Milwaukee to have an increased police presence in the neighborhoods surrounding the Fair Park.

Incidents in the Midway area on the evening of Thursday, August 4, resulted in approximately 24 arrests. Seven Wisconsin State Fair Park Police Officers were injured, two of those hospitalized, responding to fights in the Midway. There were no reports of Fairgoers injured within the Fair Park.

Wisconsin State Fair will continue through Sunday, August 14 at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis.

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UPDATED Friday, August 5, 2011 --- 12:35 p.m.

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin State Fair Park officials are instituting some changes following at least two dozen arrests and injuries to park police officers during opening day of the fair.

State Fair Park CEO Rick Frenette says about 24 people were arrested on the grounds Thursday during disturbances on the midway. Frenette says seven park police officers were injured, including two who were taken to the hospital.

Frenette says there will be an increased police presence following disturbances at the fair and surrounding neighborhood. And, he says all those under 18 attending the fair will have to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian after 5 p.m.

Milwaukee and West Allis police are investigating reports of a crowd of young people injuring at least four people as they left the fair.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Friday, August 5, 2011 --- 12:25 p.m.

Coverage from Fox 6 Milwaukee:

Milwaukee and West Allis Police are investing a string of mob-like behavior involving a very large and unruly crowd near the Wisconsin State Fair Crowds Thursday night.

Several people were hurt and nearby cars and homes were damaged.

State Fair officials say several people were arrested inside the fairgrounds Thursday night after fights broke out at the midway. At closing time, those fights made their way outside the park.

Milwaukee Police say just after 11 p.m. Thursday they responded to complaints of an unruly mob attacking cars, people and leaving damage in its path.

Hundreds of young people left the fairgrounds and made their way down 84th Street and the surrounding neighborhoods, smashing car windows, throwing rocks and beating people who were leaving the fair.

Several people were punched in the face. A child was pushed to the ground.

One woman required stitches and another will need surgery for her injuries.

Police are continuing to search for suspects involved in the incident.

One witness says he saw a group of 20-30 young men attack someone walking by.

"A group came through and the guy was kind of not really looking and was making his way through the crowd like anybody else would, and just wound up on his knees and they wound up punching him," says the witness.

"I had one kid you know asking me to sit on my porch until it cleared up because he was afraid to walk by himself."

Despite what happened Thursday night, there are hundreds of people entering the fair Friday morning.

State Fair officials are working with police to ensure this doesn't happen again.

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UPDATED Friday, August 5, 2011 --- 9:30 a.m.

Coverage from Fox 6 Milwaukee:

It wasn't the way that we wanted State Fair to kick off this year. Hundreds of people rampaged through the local neighborhoods at about 11:00 p.m. last night. Milwaukee police say it all started around closing time in the parking lot.

Police were called out to State Fair Park for complaints of battery, fighting, and property damage from a large unruly crowd. According to police, starting at the fairgrounds, the group ran down 84th St. then continued down to 60th and Main St.

Some reports say the group charged at cars leaving the fair, smashed in car and home windows, and fighting/attacking people along the way. Other witnesses tell FOX6 that the group was slamming car hoods and throwing rocks/gravel. One witness compared the situation to the "Running of the Bulls."

Police say people were punched in the face by the group. A Muskego woman required stitches and another woman will need surgery. As of now, four victims have come forward so far.

Multiple fights broke out and a little boy was even thrown to the ground.

Police continue to investigate what happened late last night. According to police, nobody is in custody and they are working to identify the suspects involved. They tell FOX6 that if or once the suspects are found, they could face at least two felony charges -- including child abuse.

A State Fair official tells FOX6 that it's a very unfortunate event -- and they are talking to police and working on a plan to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

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Posted Friday, August 5, 2011 --- 7:25 a.m.

Coverage from the Associated Press:

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) -- Witnesses say a crowd of young people attacked fair-goers as they left State Fair Park at the end of opening day.

Milwaukee police confirm squads were dispatched to the park shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday because a large, unruly crowd of people was causing property damage and fighting.

Norb Roffers of Wind Lake says he was among those attacked. Roffers says he was hit in the back of the head. He and other witnesses say the attacks were racially motivated. Another witness tells WTMJ radio (http://bit.ly/qZXcVn) that when he saw the number of young people coming down the road, he thought there wouldn't be enough police officers to handle the crowd. He says the attackers were pulling people off their motorcycles.

Television video shows West Allis police making at least one arrest.

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Information from: WTMJ-AM, http://www.620wtmj.com

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.