Residents of Milwaukee burned down a house suspected of being a hub for sex trafficking after criticizing the local police department for failing to take action in the case of missing Black children.
Videos have been posted to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram showing versions of the story that conflict with what police and local news outlets are reporting.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, police were searching for two missing Black girls aged 13 and 15 on Monday and Tuesday. The girls had been missing since Sunday and were found on Wednesday morning, but the situation led to a tense standoff between local residents and police who were searching a house.
The local police department was criticized for not treating the missing girls with any amount of urgency. Police spokeswoman Sgt. Sheronda Grant openly admitted to the Journal Sentinel that the case was not considered "critical" and did not warrant an Amber Alert, which is sent out for most missing children cases. She did not explain why.
Despite officials saying they searched the home on Monday and Tuesday for the girls, protesters said when they entered the house on their own they found evidence that sex trafficking was taking place along with bloody shorts.
Local residents, activists and parents blasted the police department for not taking them seriously and for ignoring evidence they gave local authorities. WISN reported that people notified police about sex trafficking activity at a series of houses near North 40th and West Lloyd streets but that residents said police were not proactive in searching for the girls.
Community members ultimately decided to take matters into their own hands, showing up at the house only to be shot at by the people inside. Police eventually removed them, but a tense standoff ensued, with the crowd eventually burning the house down.