Relative Calm Prevails in US City Where Police Shooting of Black Man Sparks Killings, Unrest

The Midwestern U.S. city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, remained calm Thursday after the first relatively peaceful night of protests since Sunday’s shooting of an African American man, Jacob Blake.  Demonstrators appeared to be more subdued Wednesday night after the chaos of the previous night when, police said, a 17-year-old from the neighboring state of Illinois fatally shot two demonstrators and wounded another. The teen was arrested Wednesday and was facing charges of first-degree intentional homicide, according to media reports.Armed groups that had been walking the streets were not seen Wednesday night, and protesters stayed clear of a courthouse where demonstrators and police had faced off earlier.    A sign, a bottle of alcohol and flowers are left in tribute to victims of a shooting during Tuesday night’s protests, at the site of the incident, during a protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wis., Aug. 26, 2020.Demonstrators visited the scene where the protesters were killed and injured Tuesday, praying and laying flowers. Daijon Spann said he joined the demonstration to pay tribute to one of the people who were killed.  “I couldn’t take it anymore,” Spann told the Associated Press. “I couldn’t just sit and watch my friend die.” Police account of shootingEarlier Wednesday, the Wisconsin Department of Justice released the first official account of the shooting, which was caught on camera and led to four consecutive days of protests in Kenosha, about 60 kilometers south of Milwaukee on Lake Michigan.  According to the report, Kenosha police had been called to a residence “after a female caller reported that her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises.”  Demonstrators take part in a protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Aug. 26, 2020.The report says officers unsuccessfully used a Taser when trying to arrest Blake, 29, in the home’s front yard, then trailed him as he walked to his vehicle and opened the driver’s door. The Wisconsin DOJ said that as Blake leaned into the car, Officer Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department, grabbed Blake by his shirt and fired his service weapon seven times into his back. None of the other officers on the scene fired their weapons.   The report noted that Kenosha police do not have body cameras on their uniforms.  Investigators said Wednesday that they found a knife on the driver’s side floorboard in Blake’s car, but no other weapons. The report said Blake had told officers he had a knife in his possession, although it was unclear whether Sheskey knew of the knife when he shot Blake or if Blake threatened the officer with the knife.  Attorneys for Blake say their client did not pose a threat to police and denied he was even in possession of a knife. They say he only wanted to get three of his young children who were in the vehicle “out of a volatile situation.” Calm in Kenosha began to prevail hours after the U.S. Justice Department announced Wednesday that it would open a civil rights inquiry into the police shooting of Blake. Blake was shot in the back Sunday, leaving him partially paralyzed from the waist down along with serious injuries to several of his internal organs.    The Justice Department said in a statement that the probe would be handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in cooperation with Wisconsin state law enforcement investigators and other state authorities.   Arrest in IllinoisAs the investigation into Blake’s shooting continued, police arrested Kyle Rittenhouse at his home in Antioch, Illinois, about 24 kilometers from Kenosha. Rittenhouse, who was being held in Illinois, was also charged as a fugitive from justice, according to court records. His extradition hearing is scheduled for Friday.  Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks during news conference following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Aug. 27, 2020.According to Wisconsin law, Rittenhouse will be charged as an adult and has been assigned a public defender. The public defender’s office had no comment. On Tuesday, cellphone video was released showing a person carrying what appears to be an assault rifle running down a street and being chased by a group of people. The person shot at several of his pursuers as they began to surround him after he fell to the ground.  Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told reporters Wednesday that what happened Tuesday night in the streets of Kenosha was why people should not try to take the law into their own hands.  “I had a person call me and say, ‘Why don’t you deputize citizens who have guns to come out and patrol the city of Kenosha?’ … What happened last night … was probably the perfect reason why I wouldn’t,” Beth said.  President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that he would “be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!” 



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