Jacob Blake protests: Kenosha mayor says National Guard is deployed, police are working to protect public safety
Kyle Rittenhouse faces charges of first degree intentional homicide, one count of first degree reckless homicide, one count of first degree intentional homicide attempt and two counts of first degree reckless endangerment. He would risk a life sentence if convicted of first degree intentional homicide, Wisconsin’s most serious felony.
The attack on Tuesday night – much of it captured on cellphone video and posted online – and the Sunday police shooting of Blake, a 29-year-old black father and six children who was left paralyzed from the size, have made Kenosha the latest focal point in the fight against racial injustice that has plagued the country since the death of George Floyd on May 25 in custody in Minneapolis.
Kenosha Police were questioned about their interactions with the gunman on Tuesday evening. According to testimonies and video footage, police apparently let the gunman walk past them and leave the scene with a rifle over his shoulder and hands up, as members of the crowd shouted for him to be arrested because he had shot people.
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As to how the gunman managed to escape, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth described a chaotic and stressful scene, with lots of radio traffic and people screaming, chanting and running – conditions that , according to him, can cause “tunnel vision” among judicial officers. .
Video taken before the shooting shows police tossing bottled water from an armored vehicle and thanking civilians with long guns marching through the streets. One of them appears to be the shooter.
National and state sections of the American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday called for the resignation of Beth and Kenosha Police Chief Dan Miskinis for dealing with Blake’s death and the protests that followed.
Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Ill., About 15 miles from Kenosha, was taken into custody in Illinois on Wednesday. He was named a public defender in Illinois for a hearing Friday on his transfer to Wisconsin. Under Wisconsin law, anyone 17 years of age or older is treated as an adult in the criminal justice system.
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Rittenhouse’s attorney, Lin Wood, said the teenager was acting in self-defense. Cell phone footage shows the shooter being chased through a used car parking lot by someone before hearing gunshots and the person is dead. The shooter then runs in the street where he is pursued by several people, shouting that he has just shot someone. He stumbles after being approached by several other people and fires, killing another man and injuring a third.
“From my perspective, it is important that the message be clear to other Americans who are under attack that there will be legal resources available in the event that false accusations are brought against them,” he said. . “Americans should never be dissuaded from exercising their right to self-defense.”
The two men killed were Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha, and Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake, about 15 miles west of town.
A third man was injured. Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, of West Allis, about 30 miles northwest of Kenosha, is recovering from surgery, said Bethany Crevensten, another activist. She said Grosskreutz was volunteering as a medic when he was shot and called him a “hero”.
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The streets of Kenosha were quiet on Thursday after a night of peaceful protests and no widespread unrest for the first time since the Blake shooting. No group patrolled the streets of Kenosha with long guns on Wednesday evening and protesters stayed away from a courthouse that had been the scene of confrontations with law enforcement.
During the unrest of the previous two nights, dozens of fires were started and businesses were ransacked and destroyed.
“Last night was very peaceful,” Beth said at a press conference Thursday in which he and other city leaders declined to answer questions. “Tuesday night, not so peaceful, but it wasn’t too bad.”
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The sheriff’s department spokesperson did not immediately return a message asking for clarification on Beth’s comment.
Kenosha police arrested nine people for disorderly driving Wednesday evening after filling cans with gasoline at a gas station in the city, the department said Thursday.
Riot Kitchen, a Seattle-based nonprofit that serves food at protests, said its members were filling cans of gasoline for their vehicles and powering a generator for their food truck, and posted a video from a viewer on Twitter who she said was showing the arrests. .
In the video, black SUVs converge on a van at an intersection near a gas station. Several officers in thick vests come out, pointing guns at the van. Moments later, an officer smashes the window on the passenger side with a baton, unlocks the van, and pulls out a person who does not appear to offer any resistance.
Police said they had received information on “suspicious vehicles” with out-of-state license plates, and arrested the group on suspicion of “preparing for criminal activity”. Police said they found fireworks, gas masks, helmets, heavy vests and “suspected controlled substances” in the vehicles.
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Blake was shot in the back seven times on Sunday as he leaned over in his SUV, in which three of his children were sitting.
State officials identified the officer who shot Blake as Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department.
Authorities said Sheskey was among the agents who responded to a domestic dispute, although they did not say if Blake was part of the dispute. Sheskey shot Blake while holding his shirt after police unsuccessfully tasered him, the Wisconsin Department of Justice said. State agents later recovered a knife from the ground on the driver’s side of the vehicle, the department said. State officials did not say Blake threatened anyone with a knife.
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Ben Crump, the lawyer for Blake’s family, said on Tuesday that it “would take a miracle” for Blake to walk again. He called for Sheskey’s arrest and the others involved to lose their jobs. State officials did not announce any charges.
Blake’s father told the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday that he was upset to learn his son had been handcuffed to the hospital bed.
“He can’t go anywhere. Why did you handcuff him to the bed? said his father, also named Jacob Blake.
Online court records indicate that Kenosha County prosecutors charged Blake on July 6 with sexual assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic violence. An arrest warrant was issued the next day. The files do not contain any further details and do not mention any attorneys for Blake.
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The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that all hospital patients in custody are held unless they undergo medical procedures, and that it strives “to ensure a safe and secure environment. human for Mr. Blake ”.
At a press conference, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers replied “yes” when asked if he feared Blake was handcuffed. “He has already paid a horrible price,” said the governor.
The governor authorized the deployment of 500 National Guard members to Kenosha, doubling the number of troops in the city to 100,000. Guardsmen from Arizona, Michigan and Alabama were coming to Wisconsin to help, said Evers Thursday. He didn’t say how much.
In Washington, the Justice Department said it was sending more than 200 federal agents from the FBI, the US Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The White House said up to 2,000 National Guard troops would be available. The Justice Department also announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI will conduct a civil rights investigation into the Blake shooting, in cooperation with Wisconsin state law enforcement.
Scott Bauer reported from Madison. Associated Press reporters Jake Bleiberg in Dallas; Todd Richmond in Madison, Wisconsin; Don Babwin and Sophia Tareen in Chicago; and Tammy Webber in Fenton, Michigan, contributed, as did news researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York.
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