Demonstrators remember the lives of two Kenosha-area men shot and killed by vigilante teenager from Illinois.
After three nights of strife with demonstrators decrying the police shooting of Jacob Blake and a teenage militant shooting two people dead, the scene in Kenosha was relatively calm Wednesday night.
Despite Gov. Tony Evers increasing the deployment of National Guard troops to 500 Wednesday, there was a notable absence of law enforcement officers and troops in comparison to previous nights, except for a few noteworthy arrests around the start of curfew at 7 p.m.
About 200 people demonstrated Wednesday, four days after a Kenosha police officer shot Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, seven times in the back at point-blank range. Blake is now paralyzed from the waist down and his family said Tuesday he may never walk again. His family has hired civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is filing a civil suit against the Racine Police Department.
“As you can see, there’s no cops,” said Kejuan Goldsmith, who led the demonstrators down Sheridan Avenue. “You know what that means? You get community.”
Just before curfew began and some people began to leave, a military tactical vehicle rolled over the grass in the park in front of the Dinosaur Discovery Museum.
Law enforcement in plain clothes and unmarked trucks blocked a U-Haul truck containing pallets of water and snacks from leaving the intersection of 57th Street and 10th Avenue. The military vehicle was close behind.
The rear hatch of the mine-resistant vehicle opened and several members of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department disembarked in tactical gear, some with loaded AR-style rifles.
Police pulled the driver from the truck and put him into an unmarked SUV before officers drove him and his truck away. Pallets of water and snacks were visible from the open rear of the U-Haul.
“The brother that was driving, he was taken out of the U-Haul unjustly,” said Oscar Walton, a protester from Milwaukee. “He wasn’t doing nothing but offering medical supplies to the people because we know the tragedy that went on last night. They need to give those supplies back.”
The U-Haul driver was eventually released from custody and walked with the demonstrators for the rest of the night.
Law enforcement was mostly absent, though, and didn’t interfere for the rest of the night as demonstrators marched up and down Sheridan Road. Around 11 p.m. the crowds dispersed.
“We’re going home,” said the Rev. Kelsey Beebe, who leads two churches in Racine, while attending a discussion at Bradford Community Church that ended at 7 p.m., the time the curfew began. “We hope the militia isn’t out tonight.”
While demonstrators were getting underway in Kenosha, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul held a press conference to provide an update on the state-led investigation into Sunday’s shooting.
Kaul identified the officer who shot Blake as Rusten Sheskey. Sheskey has been with the Kenosha police force for seven years. He has been placed on administrative leave, Kaul said.
The shooting occured after the Kenosha Police Department officers were dispatched to a residence in the 2800 block of 40th Street after a woman caller reported that her boyfriend was present and not supposed to be on the premises, Kaul said during the press conference.
Officers attempted to arrest Blake and deployed a taser in an attempt to stop him. The taser was not successful. Blake “walked around his vehicle, opened the driver’s side door, and leaned forward,” Kaul said.
“While holding onto Mr. Blake’s shirt, Officer Rusten Sheskey fired his service weapon seven times,” Kaul said. “Officer Sheskey fired the weapon into Mr. Blake’s back. No other officer fired their weapon.”
While Kaul confirmed Blake had a knife in his vehicle, Blake was not armed at the time he was tased or shot by the officer.
Kenosha Police Department officer do not wear does body cameras. Click here to read the DOJ’s statement.
One of the people allegedly shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old white teenager from Antioch, Ill., was Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake. Bennett told the Kenosha News Huber, who is white, stood in front of her during the recent protests outside the Kenosha County Courthouse.
“They came out here every time with us. Sweet. Loving. They were the sweetest hearts, souls. I called Anthony my hippie guy,” said Bennett. “They were sweet guys. We knew all three of them, but he (Anthony) was the one who would always come up to me. Always would be right by me.”
Jessica VanEgeren contributed to this report.