Deputies Weren't Working With Armed Individuals, Kenosha Sheriff Says

Aug 27, 2020

Midday on Wednesday, Kenosha-area officials held a news conference to address the fatal shootings Tuesday night and the arson and vandalism that sprouted up in the city over the past few days.

“Violence in the community is not acceptable. Violence to property, violence to people, absolutely unacceptable. And it is up to us to make sure that that does not continue,” says Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian.

Antaramian made the statement the day after two people were killed and another seriously injured while protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Authorities have arrested Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old white male from Antioch, Ill.

On Tuesday night, Rittenhouse can be seen on cell phone video hanging out with other men who also had guns on display. At least one group encouraged such individuals to show up in Kenosha to protect property and support law enforcement.

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth during a Wednesday press conference. He said on Tuesday, before the shooting, someone called him asking him to deputize citizens to help keep streets safe. He said no.
Credit LaToya Dennis

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth says he’s been getting questions about whether the men were working with authorities. He says absolutely not. But he adds that on Tuesday, before the shooting, someone called him asking him to deputize citizens to help keep streets safe. He said no.

“Once I deputize somebody, they fall under the constitution of the state of Wisconsin. They fall under the county of Kenosha, they fall under my guidance, they have to follow my policies, they have to follow my supervisors. They are a liability to me and the county and the state of Wisconsin,” Beth says.

One way law enforcement says it’s working to help protect people and property is by upping the curfew by an hour. Instead of an 8 p.m. curfew, it's now at 7 p.m.  It’s expected to remain in place at least through Sunday.

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Tony Evers asked for more National Guard members and federal agents to be deployed to Kenosha. President Trump tweeted that he will help restore Law and Order to the city.