What’s Happening in Kenosha, Wisconsin?

 What’s Happening in Kenosha, Wisconsin?

Amid protests over police shooting of Jacob Blake, two people were killed in attack allegedly carried out by white vigilante gunman.

Protests unfolded in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday after video emerged showing an officer in the city’s police department shooting a Black man in the back as he tried to open his car door.

‘Far from isolated incident’: Kenosha’s Black residents speak out on police violence

The man, later identified as Jacob Blake, is now paralyzed from the waist down, his family said. On Tuesday evening – the third night of protests – two people were fatally shot and another person was wounded. Videos of the shooting appear to show a white vigilante gunman carrying out the shootings.

Here is what we know about the events in Kenosha thus far.

What happened on Sunday?

A video surfaced that afternoon, recorded by a bystander, showing Blake walking around a car on the street while several police officers stand nearby. The video shows Blake, 29, trying to get into this car through the driver’s side door. As Blake does this, an officer opens fire. In the video, at least seven shots are heard. Officials said the police there were responding to a domestic violence report.

Blake’s family later revealed that he may never walk again. The civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said on Twitter that Blake’s three young sons were in the car during the shooting. “They saw a cop shoot their father,” Crump wrote on Twitter. “They will be traumatized forever. We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us. Our kids deserve better.”

What happened to the police officers involved?

Wisconsin’s department of justice, which is investigating the shooting, said the officers involved “have been placed on administrative leave”. After the department completes its investigation, officials will turn over their findings to a prosecutor, who will then decide whether to pursue a case.

What did officials say?

On Monday, Tony Evers, the Wisconsin governor, renewed his push for policing reforms, to limit law enforcement misconduct. Evers signed an executive order mandating that state lawmakers meet in a 31 August special session to weigh nine police reform bills.

Josh Kaul, the state attorney general, said: “We are going to vigorously and fully investigate the facts of this case… Our pursuit of justice is going to be unwavering,”

What is known about the shooting Tuesday night?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the shooting took place following a confrontation between demonstrators and armed men, who claimed they were securing a gas station. Video circulating on social media shows a young white male, holding a rifle, running away from a group of protesters after the first shots. Footage appears to show this man tumbling to the ground, and then firing multiple shots towards this group. Two other people then fell, one shot in the chest and the other, in the arm.

Police have arrested Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, after two people were shot dead in Kenosha on Tuesday night. Rittenhouse will be charged with first degree homicide. Rittenhouse was arrested in Antioch, Illinois.

A so called militia man at protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on 25 August 2020.
 A so called militia man at protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on 25 August 2020. Photograph: Jim Vondruska

Do we know anything else about the armed men in Kenosha?

A Facebook group referring to itself as the Kenosha Guard urged supporters to head downtown and “defend” the city, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted. “Any patriots willing to take up arms and defend [our] city tonight from the evil thugs? [No doubt] they are currently planning on the next part of the city to burn tonight!” the newspaper reported one post saying.

The group is previously unknown and is not clear if it exists beyond the Facebook group. The group’s founder, Kevin Mathewson, 36, a former Kenosha city alderman known for clashing with city officials, said Kenosha Guard was less a structured organization than a “general call to arms”.

Mathewson said that he and other armed men first gathered near the protests at the Kenosha courthouse on Tuesday night, and later dispersed in different directions, with some going home to guard their own neighborhoods.Advertisement

The group was “unaware” if Wednesday night’s shooter was “answering the Kenosha Guard Militia’s call to arms”, the group posted on Facebook Wednesday morning, but Mathewson said he believed the sheriff was referring to his group when he had spoken about a militia group patrolling the streets. Only about 12 to 15 people were closely involved in participating in the group, Mathewson said.

Read the original article at TheGuardian.com

Jim Prues