2 killed, 1 injured in shooting during protests in Kenosha
Demonstrations continued across the state against police shooting of Jacob Blake
Two people were killed and a third was injured in a shooting Tuesday, Aug. 25 during protests in Kenosha, the city's police department confirmed early Wednesday. It was the third night of protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
One victim was transported to the hospital with serious, but non-life threatening injuries.
Police responded to reports of gunfire in the area of 63rd Street and Sheridan Road around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday. Shots were fired outside a gas station and three people were struck. Authorities are releasing no further details about the shooting and the investigation is ongoing.
Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that authorities hadn't detained anyone in the shootings, but that police reviewed video of what happened and he was confident a man would be arrested soon. He also mentioned that an armed "militia" has been patrolling Kenosha in recent nights, but that he didn't know if the alleged shooter was among them.
A witness told The Kenosha News that one person was apparently shot in the head, appeared unresponsive and was rushed to a nearby hospital.
Protests continue in Wisconsin cities for third night
Protesters took to the streets in Kenosha, Madison and La Crosse on Tuesday night to demonstrate against the shooting of Blake by Kenosha police last weekend.
Tuesday's protest was the third night of public outrage about police violence after Blake, who is Black, was shot in the back and wounded on Sunday by Kenosha officers. Protests on Sunday night and Monday night in Kenosha turned violent and left businesses vandalized and dozens of buildings set on fire.
As a result of the violence, Gov. Tony Evers declared a state of emergency on Tuesday and authorized the deployment of more Wisconsin National Guard troops to Kenosha County. At the same time, county officials issued an overnight curfew.
Protesters march in Kenosha
A candlelight vigil in Kenosha was set for Tuesday evening, but was then rescheduled because of "civic unrest and the mayor having emergency powers," according to a Facebook post by the Human First Project, which organized the event . The new vigil is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
"There is a group of armed counter protester coming to civic park right after we start" said the post. "I want to keep you all safe. So please for your safety do not show up. I'll monitor the situation on the ground and keep you all posted as we get closer to Friday."
While the Kenosha vigil was postponed, around 100 protesters gathered on Tuesday evening to march through the city. Some residents could be seen boarding up windows as the march continued.
At one point, the demonstrators acted out a "die-in," laying on the roadway for seven minutes — one minute for every time Jacob Blake was shot.
March organizers could be heard calling for releasing any video footage related to the Blake shooting, creating a community review board for police and defunding police.
Kenosha County officials declared an overnight curfew on Tuesday, lasting from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. Wednesday.
As 8 p.m. came, march organizers asked demonstrators to leave peacefully and quietly as it was curfew.
As marchers dispersed, another group moved into Civic Center Park across the street from the Kenosha County Courthouse.
Glenn Summers, of Kenosha, said the "other protesters" were from Milwaukee, Chicago and Minneapolis and weren't affiliated with the group that took to the streets Tuesday afternoon.
This second group, totaling 200 to 300 people, gathered near the courthouse and faced off against 40 to 50 law enforcement officers wearing riot gear. Authorities erected a fence to keep the crowd back. At one point, fireworks were apparently thrown near officers. Tear gas was then thrown toward the protesters. Some in the group were carrying rifles.
Just before 10 p.m. a large group of police in riot gear lined up along multiple armored vehicles in front of the Kenosha courthouse and began pushing the group back. Protesters moved back, but remained along the edge of Civic Center Park across from officers.
Earlier on Tuesday, Gov. Tony Evers authorized an increased deployment of state National Guard troops to Kenosha County, from 125 to 250.
Hundreds gather for vigil, march in Madison
In Madison, several hundred people gathered Tuesday evening for a candlelight vigil for Blake and honoring victims and survivors of violence and then a march.
(Similar events were announced across the nation this week in places like New York City , Maryland and Mississippi .)
A couple of hundred people gathered at the top of State Street for the vigil, which was organized by Freedom Inc. Speakers addressed the crowd and poetry was read to the demonstrators. In the shadow of the state Capitol, protesters left flowers and photos to honor victims of violence.
Chanting "I love Black people," marchers circled the Capitol Square following the vigil. A group of young people carried a large banner demanding community control of policing.
After gathering at the Capitol, the group marched to the City-County Building, where speakers demanded that more money be spent on social services and less on police.
Mahnker Dahnweih, of Freedom Inc., encouraged the crowd to take action to end violence.
"It's a march that says we aren't done yet, we are in righteous rebellion against the wrongs done to Black people every day," she said. "I don't want to be here next week."
Demonstrators chanted slogans like "the whole damn system is guilty as hell," and "free 'em all."
About 200 people continued to march through downtown streets later into the night.
They were joined by a small group of city leaders and elected officials who were encouraging the protesters to remain peaceful, including former Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, Common Council President Sheri Carter and state Rep. Sheila Stubbs.
Madison Metropolitan School District Board President Gloria Reyes, who used to be on the police force, spoke out against the violence that has followed some of the protests.
"We've done a lot around police reform. You don't get there by destroying Madison," Reyes said.
Stubbs called on Republican legislators to act on police reform bills in special session called by Evers.
Just after 10 p.m., a group of around 200 protesters began to march near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.
By the earlier hours of the morning, reporters on the scene posted images of some protesters breaking windows of businesses and residential buildings, and setting fires in the street along University Avenue. Madison Police say four people were arrested.
Demonstration held in La Crosse
Nearly 60 people gathered in Riverside Park in downtown La Crosse at 6:30 p.m Tuesday to show support for Blake.
The group started by chanting "Black Lives Matter" for several minutes after a truck with a Confederate flag parked near the protest.
Allie Riebe, who lives in La Crosse and organized the protest, said Sunday’s shooting was "outraging" and she was frustrated to see so many people in the community questioning what Blake did to provoke police.
"We needed to show that even if that event didn't happen here, we’re affected by it. At the same time, racism is super prevalent in this community," Riebe said.
Brandon Sydnor spoke to the group about his experience with racism living in La Crosse, including being called a racial slur at work. He called on people to speak up when they witness racism in the community.
"Our job will not be done here until we can claim peace and equality for every single one of us," Sydnor said.
The group marched through downtown to City Hall.
Small group rallies in Wausau
In Wausau, 27 people gathered outside the courthouse shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday carrying banners reading "Black Lives Matter" and "Justice 4 Jacob Blake."
Blake has emerged from surgery Tuesday
On Tuesday, Blake's attorney said he was paralyzed when he was shot multiple times by police. Attorney Ben Crump spoke Tuesday alongside Blake's family members. He said the 29-year-old was in surgery after being shot on Sunday night multiple times and it would “take a miracle” for him to walk again.
Another family attorney said they would be filing a civil lawsuit against the Kenosha Police Department over the shooting.
Police have said little about what happened, other than that they were responding to a domestic dispute.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating.
Editor's note: Rich Kremer, Rachael Vasquez, Angela Major, Bridgit Bowden, Shamane Mills and David Hyland contributed reporting.
Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard locally on 91.3 KUWS-FM and at wpr.org.
Wisconsin Public Radio, Copyright 2020, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board.