Kenosha
September 2, 2020

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Thursday, where he will hold a community meeting "to bring together Americans to heal" and visit with the family of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot in the back at least seven times by a white police officer and is now paralyzed.

Biden's campaign said he believes that "based on everything he has seen," charges against the officer "appear warranted," but there "should be a full investigation to ensure all the facts are known first."

The shooting triggered anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests in the city. Last week, a demonstration turned violent, and 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested and accused of shooting three people at the protest, two of whom died.

President Trump went to Kenosha on Tuesday, where he surveyed a building that was burned during a protest. He also stated that he did not call Blake's mother because attorneys became involved in the matter, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Catherine Garcia

September 1, 2020

President Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, despite local officials urging him to stay away, concerned his trip would incite further unrest.

Trump has been referring to himself as a "law and order" president, and his campaign is pushing the message that if he is not re-elected, extreme riots and violence will overtake the U.S.. Speaking at a roundtable discussion on community safety, Trump said that in order to "stop the political violence, we must also confront the radical ideology that includes this violence. Reckless far-left politicians continue to push the destructive message that our nation and our law enforcement are oppressive or racist."

Late last month, a white police officer in Kenosha shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back, leaving him paralyzed. Anti-police brutality protests broke out, and during one demonstration, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly fatally shot two people and wounded a third; he has been charged with intentional homicide.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has condemned the violence on all sides, and on Monday he said Trump and his rhetoric are stoking division. Trump did not join Biden in denouncing the violence, but did say during a Fox News interview that the use of excessive force by law enforcement is comparable to a golfer messing up. "Shooting the guy in the back many times, I mean, couldn't you have done something different?" he said. "Couldn't you have wrestled him? But they choke. Just like in a golf tournament. They miss a three-foot putt." Catherine Garcia

September 1, 2020

There's no question Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, are dead, fatally shot Aug. 25 during a chaotic night in Kenosha, Wisconsin. And there's little question they were killed by Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Illinois who traveled to Kenosha, he told a reporter, to protect an auto dealership alongside other members of a self-appointed militia.

Much of the night's tragedy was captured on video, but there's stark disagreement over what those videos show. Prosecutors have charged Rittenhouse with intentional homicide and other crimes. He plans to claim self-defense. Washington Post reporter Whitney Leaming described what she saw.

The third night of Jacob Blake protests "had felt different from the start," Gina Barton reports at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. There were the armed militia members adding a note of menace, and "what seemed like hundreds more cops than before stood shoulder to shoulder and forced" demonstrators out of the park and into the street, where "there was nowhere to go. Soldiers and cops blocked one end of the road. White guys with big guns blocked the other."

One video shows Kenosha police thanking Rittenhouse and other militia members for coming out. Another clip appears to show a militia member recounting that "the cops told us today ... like, 'We're gonna push 'em down by you, 'cause you can deal with them and then we're gonna leave.'"

It isn't clear what happened right before Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum dead in a parking lot. Police charging documents say Rosenbaum appeared to be unarmed but threw a plastic bag toward Rittenhouse. A Daily Caller reporter who was interviewing Rittenhouse told police he thought Rosenbaum was reaching for Rittenhouse's AR-15. A gunshot can be heard somewhere in the vicinity before Rittenhouse opens fire.

Rittenhouse then called someone and said, "I just killed somebody." It was clear "he knew he messed up," a protester named Jeremiah told the Journal Sentinel. "He panicked. Even his people knew what he did was wrong. They were all shouting at him, 'What are you doing?'"

At that point, several people started chasing Rittenhouse. He tripped and fell before shooting and missing a protester who jumped over him. Huber tried to grab his gun, hitting him with his skateboard. Rittenhouse shot him in the chest, then rose to a sitting position and shot 26-year-old paramedic Gaige Grosskreutz — who was holding a handgun but didn't appear to point it at Rittenhouse — in the arm. Rittenhouse got up, made sure the protesters weren't following him, and walked past the police with his hands up. Peter Weber

August 27, 2020

Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old arrested in connection to the fatal shootings of two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday night, has been charged with six criminal counts, Reuters reports.

The charges include first degree reckless homicide related to the death of 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and first degree intentional homicide in the death of 26-year-old Anthony Huber, as well as attempted first degree intentional homicide, two charges of first degree recklessly endangering safety, and a possession of a dangerous weapon charge, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Molly Beck reports. "[P]olice say Rittenhouse fired an AR-15-style rifle at protesters after a chaotic confrontation in the streets," The Washington Post reports, adding that additionally "Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, of West Allis, Wisconsin, was shot in the arm and is expected to recover."

Rittenhouse was reportedly police-obsessed, and had evidently traveled to Kenosha from his home over the border in Illinois to oppose the demonstrations sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Jeva Lange

August 27, 2020

Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey was holding on to Jacob Blake's shirt, trying to prevent him from getting into his SUV, when he shot Blake seven times in the back, the Wisconsin Department of Justice said in a statement late Wednesday.

Officers arrived at Blake's address responding to a call from a woman who said her boyfriend wasn't supposed to be there, the state DOJ said. Officers tried to arrest Blake on a domestic warrant uncovered en route to the scene, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. One officer tased Blake, and when he continued trying to leave the scene, three officers followed him at close range. Sheskey grabbed and shot Blake after he "leaned forward" into the driver's side door, the Wisconsin DOJ said. State officers found a knife on the floorboard, but no other weapons in the car, and it is unclear if the Kenosha police officers knew about the knife. Blake was shot less than three minutes after police arrived.

Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha police, has been placed on administrative leave, along with the other officers involved. Kenosha District Attorney Michael Graveley asked for patience Wednesday, saying, "We will only decide whether any Kenosha police officer is going to be charged with a crime and that can only occur if we believe that that crime can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt."

Blake is now paralyzed, his family's lawyer said, and "it's going to take a miracle" for him to ever walk again. The shooting, following multiple other acts of police violence against Black Americans, prompted protests and unrest in Kenosha and elsewhere. A 17-year-old from Illinois who had come to Kenosha with a semi-automatic rifle was arrested Wednesday for allegedly killing two protesters and wounding another Tuesday night. Videos from Tuesday night show Kenosha police handing out water to the gunman and other militia members and thanking them for being there. Peter Weber

August 26, 2020

The 17-year-old charged with homicide over the killing of two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday night was in the front row of a Donald Trump rally in January, BuzzFeed News has learned.

The suspect, Kyle Rittenhouse, has been described as an "aspiring cop" and Insider reports that he "idolized the police, guns, and the Blue Lives Matter movement." The teenager, who lived over the border in Illinois, was apparently in Kenosha as part of a self-described militia opposing protesters who were demonstrating against the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

President Trump has dismissed Black Lives Matter protesters in the past, calling them "THUGS" and threatening "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Twitter subsequently added a note to that tweet, clarifying that it violated the website's rules about "glorifying violence."

BuzzFeed News writes that "[f]ootage from [Trump's] Des Moines, Iowa, rally on Jan. 30 shows Rittenhouse feet away from the president, in the front row, to the left of the podium. He posted a TikTok video from the event. Seven months later, Rittenhouse went with his rifle to the third night of Black Lives Matter protests in Kenosha [...]." Read more at BuzzFeed News. Jeva Lange

August 26, 2020

The police's treatment of the 17-year-old suspect charged with killing two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday night is being met with outrage after the local police chief blamed the homicides on demonstrators who were violating curfew, and video circulated of officers seemingly responding to the overnight reports of gunfire but showing no interest in the apparent shooter even as he walked toward them with his rifle visible.

In a Wednesday press conference, Kenosha Police Department Chief of Police Daniel Miskinis observed that "everyone involved" in the shooting was "out after the curfew." Miskinis additionally confirmed that "last night, a 17-year-old individual from Antioch, Illinois, was involved in the use of firearms to resolve whatever conflict was in place."

His comments faced immediate backlash: "'Involved in firearms' means a white militant killed two protesters. Penalty for curfew not death," tweeted @ShadowingTrump. "This stilted language is usually reserved for police officers, now extended to a white teen charged with first degree murder," added @nycsouthpaw. Another user simply dubbed the police chief's comments the "passive voice of the century."

Miskinis' remarks additionally drew attention to how local police responded to the "self-declared militia" that had arrived in Kenosha to counter-protest the demonstrations over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, and to the teenage shooting suspect, identified as Kyle Rittenhouse. "The apparent shooter ... was seen on video walking away from the scene — his AR-style rifle clearly visible, his hands above his head. But Kenosha police who were responding to the reports of gunfire showed no interest in arresting or even questioning the man," Vice reports. "Instead, they asked him for directions." Vice also notes that in another video, "Rittenhouse is seen chatting with police who gave him a bottle of water and thanked him for being there."

Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot in the back eight times on Sunday night in front of his children, sparking the renewed nationwide protests against police brutality and racism. Jeva Lange

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