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'They took everything': 16 Milwaukee businesses damaged, looted, vandalized during unrest

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee police said 16 businesses were damaged early Saturday morning following civil unrest.

Employees at the Boost Mobile store near Martin Luther King Jr. and Locust received phone calls early Sunday morning from a regular customer and their alarm company telling them that people had broken in and started stealing items.

"All the windows are broken. They took everything from inside," said operations manager Ray Hamdan. "This isn't the solution. We need to do something better to take care of the problem."

"I can understand the frustration and the anger. They have a right to protest, but they don't have the right to start vandalizing businesses," said Tracey Dent, co-founder for the Milwaukee Coalition Against Hate.

Early Saturday morning, Dent was near Martin Luther King and Locust trying to disperse the crowds of people.

Boost Mobile was just one of 16 businesses damaged or looted. The supermarket next door, Fast N Friendly, was also vandalized. But Hamdan said regular customers stepped in to protect the stores and prevent further damage.

"From here and from Fast N Friendly -- a lot of the customers stood outside and wouldn't let anyone in and waited here until we got here to help us out," he said.

On Friday, protesters peacefully honored George Floyd and Joel Acevedo. Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said around 11:30 p.m. Friday, peaceful protests turned violent.

Organizers of the peaceful protests Friday had no affiliation to the damage done overnight, according to Dent.

Donte White livestreamed on Facebook for more than an hour early Saturday morning. He said he was teargassed twice and hit with non-lethal rounds. Windows were broken at the Walgreens on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, and he watched as people walked in and grabbed whatever they could.

"A lot of people that were out here causing a lot of the chaos are people that don't even live in this community. So to see people from outside of my community come into my community to help people destroy it, that's disrespectful," White said.

At one point, someone started a fire inside Walgreens, and White helped put it out.

"This is a Walgreens that my family has used. This is a Walgreens that people in our community use... To have this Walgreens burned down would have been devastating to our community," White said.

Approximately 50 people were arrested following the civil unrest and Morales said officers are working with the community to identify additional suspects.

An officer was also shot in the line of duty. His injury was non-life threatening.

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