For five consecutive days, people have taken to the streets in Kenosha to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha police officer. Blake, who is Black, was shot in the back seven times. His family says he is paralyzed from the waist down.
To help quell some of the unrest that’s happened during and after protests, the National Guard and federal agents have been deployed to the city. On Wednesday, a video began to circulate on social media of what’s believed to be federal agents in unmarked vehicles apprehending a van full of people near a gas station.
Riot Kitchen HQ just learned that our bus crew was arrested in broad daylight in #Kenosha today - kidnapped by feds in unmarked vans.
We are currently trying to find our friends who were just there to feed people.
Please share and donate for bail via Venmo riotkitchen206 pic.twitter.com/o2TDbohvFl
— riotkitchen206 (@riotkitchen206) August 27, 2020
They were part of Riot Kitchen, which says it serves free food to activists, movements and those in need. The group is based in Seattle. Protest groups estimate that around 30 people have been taken into custody under similar circumstances.
Outside a large fence erected around the Kenosha County Jail Thursday, 20 or so people chanted and hoped for the release of Adelana Akindes. Akindes' parents say they got a call on Wednesday night telling them that their daughter had been taken into custody by federal agents.
They say she was picked up along with two others in an unmarked vehicle as she left a house headed to protests. Wisconsin Public Radio reports that Akindes was booked late Wednesday evening on charges for failing to follow the curfew order.
In a nod to the late Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, Akindes’ father, Simon, said his daughter has gotten into “good trouble.” While he said he can’t wait until her return, he’s proud of the work she’s doing within the fight for black lives to matter.
“There’s been a virus that infected the world for such a long time. I would say five centuries. A virus of racism associated with colonialism that’s infected the world for a long time. So this incident that is happening right in my house in a certain way is also an indication that the struggle continues,” Simon Akindes said.
Adelana Akindes was released from jail late Thursday evening.
At a news conference on Thursday, Kenosha law enforcement and the mayor refused to answer questions about the patrols that reportedly have been rounding up certain protesters. But later, in a press release, the department did explain why people were pulled from a van and taken into custody in the video circulating on social media.
The Kenosha Police Department says the people in the Riot Kitchen group were “preparing for criminal activity.” Police say they found helmets, gas masks, protective vests, illegal fireworks and suspected controlled substances in the van.
The Riot Kitchen group says it was in Kenosha simply to feed protesters and did nothing wrong.