MORE KENOSHA CHAOS DESPITE PLEA FOR PEACE
Third night of unrest roils city even after family of Black man shot by police calls for calm; father says son is paralyzed from waist down
KENOSHA, Wis. — Hundreds of Black Lives Matter demonstrators clashed again with authorities Tuesday night in Kenosha, the third night of unrest following the police shooting of a Black man over the weekend.
Shortly before 9 p.m., protesters starting throwing bottles and rocks at police stationed behind a fence erected in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse, which had been damaged in the previous nights. Flags were set on fire and some large fireworks were thrown at officers, some of whom retreated inside the building as protesters attempted to push over the fence. “Arrest the police!” marchers shouted. A short time later, police in riot gear started firing pepper balls and tear gas back at the crowd.
After 10 p.m., after police repeatedly told protesters to disperse, a line of officers in riot gear starting pushing out from the courthouse. Protesters initially held their ground but ran as police fired tear gas. “Medic,” one woman screamed.
Some in the crowd continued to throw fireworks back and chant, “Black lives matter!”
Away from the center of the city, heavily armed men could be seen guarding a convenience store at 60th and Sheridan.
Earlier in the evening, there was a tense standoff between the demonstrators and a half-dozen armed men, including some dressed in military fatigues and carrying weapons. A woman with the smaller group shouted, “You loot, we shoot!”
“This infuriates me and is an example that they would rather protect infrastructure than people’s lives,” activist Gregory Sherman said. “We are here demanding justice for Jacob Blake and everyone else . ... They’d rather bring their guns to try and intimidate us.”
Few police accompanied the marchers as they took to the streets earlier in the evening, and none could be seen outside the newly erected fences around the courthouse.
Although Gov. Tony Evers said he planned to send 250 more Wisconsin National Guard troops to the city, few could be seen except around the courthouse.
“The ability to exercise First Amendment rights is a critically important part of our democracy and the pursuit of justice. But there remains a line between peaceful assembly and what we saw last night that put individuals, families, and businesses in danger,” Evers said in a statement.
The march took place as a city curfew went into effect at 8 p.m. for the third night in a row. Officials said it would stay in place until 7 a.m.
Tuesday afternoon, Blake’s family held a press conference demanding justice for Blake, whose family feared he could end up paralyzed, but his mother asked that no more looting or
destruction take place in this city of 100,000 in Southeastern Wisconsin.
Furniture store destroyed
Earlier Tuesday, businesses along a usually busy stretch of 60th Street near downtown were reduced to blackened rubble and firefighters were still dousing hotspots. Windows everywhere were shattered, stores looted. At Civic Center Park, a handful of volunteers roamed the area picking up garbage.
There were 34 fires, with 30 businesses destroyed or damaged with an unknown number of residences, Kenosha Fire Chief Charles Leipzig told the Kenosha News.
Scott Carpenter stood outside what remained of the used furniture business his father started in the family garage 40 years ago.
“It saddens my heart. It hurts,” said Carpenter, 51.
“I’m without a job, my daughter is without a job,” he said in a quiet voice. “It’s hurtful knowing the hatefulness is there and that other people are going to suffer just like us.”
A couple of doors down, at a law office, all of the windows were shattered.
“I feel like I’m in a movie,” said Jenny Eaton, who works in the office. “The probation and parole office is on fire, a man who spent all his life running a business now has nothing. I don’t know how this helps Black Lives Matter. At this point, all lives matter. Let’s get it together, America. This is doing nothing but putting us further into a recession.”
Phillip Marry owns the 92-year-old law office building where Eaton works. He pointed to blocks used to smash the building’s stained glass windows that “can’t be replaced.”
“It’s a sad day, a very sad day,” said Marry, who is a criminal defense lawyer.
He also said he understands the protesters’ frustrations. “But taking it out on business owners I don’t think is the right thing to do,” he said.
Protesters clash with police outside the Kenosha County Courthouse on Tuesday night.
ABOVE: People look at the remains of B&L Office Furniture on Tuesday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
LEFT: A man in a gas mask on Tuesday night.