MILWAUKEE (WITI)-- Sheriff Clarke calls the protest that resulted in 74 arrests “mob rule” during a press conference Saturday morning. Meanwhile protesters, who are demanding charging decision in the shooting death of Dontre Hamilton, remain outside the Milwaukee County Criminal Justice Facility waiting for the release of those taken into custody.
In a press conference Sheriff Clarke told members of the media the protest that briefly closed I-43 during rush hour on Friday, was dangerous and put the public at risk.
“Anarchist groups are exploiting tragic situations for their self serving and selfish needs to create enough chaos to destabilize government functions. It’s a campaign of menace and we saw it on display last night,” said Clarke.
Clarke said if an emergency occurred on the interstate, law enforcement would not have been able to respond.
“What we saw last evening is what mob rule and mob behavior looks like,” said Clarke.
Sheriff David Clarke says he believes many of the protesters causing the traffic blockage were from anarchist groups, who are using the Dontre Hamilton shooting as an excuse to disrupt. Clarke says emergency vehicles could not get through the stopped traffic.
"The line on peaceful protest is a very bright line. Mob behavior will result in arrest," said Clarke.
74 people were arrested after the group protesters marched to I-43 at McKinley Avenue, and walked onto the interstate. 73 were adults and one was a juvenile. Clarke says charges range from citations, to possible felony charges.
“The person who brought the juvenile with them will have the additional charge of delinquency of a minor along with other charges,” said Clarke.
Protesters say no one was ever in danger.
"It was safe, it was planned. No pedestrians, no motorists were in danger," said Samuel Alford who was arrested Friday.
"We're not criminals, we're people standing for a just cause," added another.
The brother of Dontre Hamilton, Nate Hamilton says protests will continue.
"I'm sorry that we caused you a small inconvenience," said Nate Hamilton.
Clarke says those in the community frustrated by the amount of time it has taken for the district attorney to come up with a charging decision must find a better way to air their frustrations.
“I understand everyone’s frustration with District Attorney John Chisolm’s foot dragging, and making a decision in the Dontre Hamilton case. I can only imagine, because I have never gone through it, I can only imagine what the Hamilton family is dealing with right now, but I can also say it has had a destructive effect on Milwaukee county,” said Clarke.
Clarke blasted DA John Chisolm, saying the length of time it has taken for a decision is “disturbing”.
“What is unique is John Chisolm has never taken this long to make a decision in the police use of force. That’s why I call this delay quite frankly remarkable," said Clarke.
Meanwhile, protestors arrested Friday, started trickling out of the Criminal Justice Facility late Saturday morning.
“These people were arrested because they don`t like what happened to Dontre Hamilton. These people got arrested last night because they want to see officer Christopher Manney convicted,” said Pastor Richard Diaz.
“We`ve been marching in the street since day 1 and they haven`t made any arrests from that and now they say you guys are gonna get arrested if you march in the streets,” said Nate Hamilton.
Protesters say they will remain outside the Criminal Justice Facility until all of the protesters are released.
“We'll continue to protest, we'll continue to fight for justice,” said Nate Hamilton.
Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn also spoke on today's protesters. Here is the raw video.
FOX6 News is monitoring this story and will continue to update.