Scare at the Fair

State Fair imposes curfew after mob attacks

CREATED Aug 5, 2011

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WEST ALLIS - The Wisconsin State Fair imposed a curfew Friday for all patrons under age 18 after a series of mob attacks marred the Fair's opening night Thursday.

According to State Fair Park CEO Rick Frenette, the policy will go into effect at 5:00 p.m. Friday evening and reads as follows:

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

2.  Anyone 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 5:00 p.m.

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 5:00 p.m.

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

Frenette said in a news conference Friday that seven State Fair Police officers were injured in the attacks and that two have been treated and released from the hospital.  24 teenagers were arrested after attacking fairgoers Thursday night.

"State Fair management has been assured and is working with the State Patrol and City of West Allis and City of Milwaukee to have an increased police presence surrounding the Fair Park for the safety of all fairgoers and surrounding community," Fredette added.  "We will not tolerate this behavior within the Fair Park again."

Witnesses described a chaotic scene Thursday night, and many believe African-American teenagers were targeting white fairgoers.

"It looked like they were just going after white guys, white people," said Norb Roffers, who was attacked near the State Fair entrance at the corner of S. 84th St. and W. Schlinger Ave. "They were attacking everybody for no reason whatsoever."

"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," Roffers continued.  "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."

The State Fair, Milwaukee, and West Allis Police Departments are still investigating and plan to update the public on the status of those investigations later Friday afternoon.