Thursday: Teen Charged In Kenosha Shooting That Killed 2

Aug 27, 2020

Anger over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, continues to spill into the streets of Kenosha, Wis. The city has become the nation's latest flashpoint during a summer of unrest and calls for racial justice after Kenosha police shot Blake in the back Sunday. The 29-year-old is hospitalized, and the family's lawyer says he is paralyzed.

>>Find all of WUWM's Kenosha protest coverage here.

Find previous days' coverage here:

>>Wednesday, Aug. 26
>> Tuesday, Aug. 25
>> Monday, Aug. 24

>> Sunday, Aug. 23

WUWM is providing updates as events unfold and information on the incident is released.

6:41 p.m.: Evers Requests National Guard Troops From Outside States For Crowd Control Experience, Wants Meaningful Special Session

More information was released during a Thursday night press conference as to why Gov. Tony Evers decided to request National Guard members from Alabama, Arizona and Michigan to support in Kenosha.

The decision to call in outside support is because they’re looking for National Guard troops with specific civil disturbance training, says Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp. Wisconsin’s members with crowd control training have already been called in, so they’re looking to other states for help.

He says the National Guard’s mission will continue to be to “preserve public safety.” He adds that all National Guard troops are under his command and aren't federalized. Troops from the three states are expected to arrive in Kenosha as early as Friday night, but it’s unclear how many will be coming.

Evers spoke about the Aug. 31 special session he called in response to calls for change in policing. He says it’s needed to show that leaders are committed to help.

“To talk about some policing reform bills, that frankly, have bipartisan support already and that would at least show the people of the state that we have some interest in this topic,” says Evers.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes says there must be action, citing the nine bills he and Evers introduced on June 19 that the Legislature has yet to take up.

“Leadership does start at the top and the governor introduced this package of bills two months ago and the Legislature hasn’t met in four months,” he says. The Legislature has been adjourned since a special session following the April election.

- Jack Hurbanis

6:30 p.m.: Athletes Continue To Boycott, Bringing Attention To Racial Justice

After the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play in their Wednesday playoff game against the Orlando Magic, more athletes have decided to join them in halting play to bring attention to racial justice.

Early Thursday afternoon, eight baseball teams voted to postpone their games Thursday, according to MLB Insider Jeff Passan. Later in the day, the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks joined in efforts by boycotting their game.

Following all WNBA teams refusing to play Wednesday, the league announced it would not be playing any games Thursday. 

All NBA teams currently in the playoffs have decided to postpone their games and aren't expected to play until Saturday, according to NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski

Nine NFL teams, including the Green Bay Packers, opted out of practices Thursday, according to NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

After tennis player Naomi Osaka announced she would not play in the semi-finals of the Western & Southern Open in New York, the tournament announced it would be halting play until Friday.

The only major sports league to continue to play Wednesday was the NHL, but after some criticism from players like Evander Kane, the league will not be holding any games until after Friday, according to ESPN hockey reporter Emily Kaplan

- Jack Hurbanis

5:31 p.m.: Illinois Teen Charged In Kenosha Shooting That Killed 2, Hurt 1

Prosecutors on Thursday charged a 17-year-old from Illinois in the fatal shooting of two protesters and the wounding of a third in Kenosha, Wis., during a night of unrest following the weekend police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Kyle Rittenhouse faces charges of first-degree intentional homicide, one count of first-degree reckless homicide, one count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment. He would face a mandatory life sentence if convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, the most serious crime in Wisconsin.

The attack late Tuesday — largely caught on cellphone video and posted online — and the shooting by police Sunday of Blake, a 29-year-old Black father of six who was left paralyzed from the waist down, made Kenosha the latest focal point in the fight against racial injustice that has gripped the country since the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

Kenosha police faced questions about their interactions with the gunman on Tuesday night. According to witness accounts and video footage, police apparently let the gunman walk past them and leave the scene with a rifle over his shoulder and his hands in the air, as members of the crowd yelled for him to be arrested because he had shot people.

As for how the gunman managed to slip away, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth has described a chaotic, high-stress scene, with lots of radio traffic and people screaming, chanting and running — conditions he said can cause “tunnel vision” among law officers.

Video taken before the shooting shows police tossing bottled water from an armored vehicle and thanking civilians armed with long guns walking the streets. One of them appears to be the gunman.

The national and state chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday called for the resignation of Beth and Kenosha Police Chief Dan Miskinis over their handling of Blake's death and the subsequent protests.

Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Ill., about 15 miles from Kenosha, was taken into custody Wednesday in Illinois. He was assigned a public defender in Illinois for a hearing Friday on his transfer to Wisconsin. Under Wisconsin law, anyone 17 or older is treated as an adult in the criminal justice system.

Rittenhouse’s attorney, Lin Wood, said the teenager was acting in self-defense. Cellphone footage shows the shooter being chased into a used car lot by someone before shots are heard and the person lies dead. The shooter then runs down the street where he is chased by several people shouting that he just shot someone. He stumbles after being approached by several more people and fires, killing another man and injuring a third.

“From my standpoint, it’s important that the message be clear to other Americans who are attacked that there will be legal resources available in the event false charges are brought against them,” he said. “Americans should never be deterred from exercising their right of self-defense.”

- Associated Press

2:38 p.m.: Kenosha Leaders Emphasize Safety, Peace After Calm Wednesday Night

During a Thursday press conference, Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian said safety for protesters, law enforcement, and people in the city continues to be the most important issue.

After safety, he says the city must focus on unity. For the last two months, the city has partnered with community members to create committees working to combat racism Kenosha. Work that Antaramian says must continue.

While Antaramian says “rebuilding is more than fixing buildings," he has made requests to Gov. Tony Evers and the federal government for financial assistance in rebuilding property damaged during protests.

Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser and Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth both thanked residents for following the 7 p.m. curfew and for staying peaceful Wednesday night.

“Last night was very peaceful. Tuesday night, not quite so peaceful, but it wasn’t too bad,” says Beth. Two protesters were fatally shot and one was sent to the hospital late Tuesday night.

Beth says he expects there will still be instigators who try to create trouble, but he says law enforcement is equipped to handle them.

Evers requested more National Guard to come to Kenosha, asking for help from three states. At this time, it’s unclear how many will be coming.

- Jack Hurbanis

2:07 p.m. Evers Calls In National Guard Members From Alabama, Arizona And Michigan To Help In Kenosha

After pressure from top Wisconsin Republicans and President Trump for more National Guard presence in Kenosha, Gov. Tony Evers has requested additional troops, equipment, and resources from three states. Under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which allows states to share aid during emergencies, Alabama, Arizona, and Michigan will send troops to Kenosha.

In a press release, Evers says the goal of these troops is to serve "in a support role to assist civil authorities in preserving public safety and individuals' ability to exercise their First Amendment rights to assemble peaceably.”

The troops will be under the operational control of Wisconsin’s adjutant general and will not receive any orders from the federal government.

Wisconsin National Guard troops have been in Kenosha since Monday.

- Jack Hurbanis

12:34 p.m.: Rev. Jesse Jackson Calls For Indictment Of All Officers Involved In Jacob Blake Shooting

Rev. Jesse Jackson was in Kenosha on Thursday, holding a briefing following the shooting of Jacob Blake. His call to protesters was to stay “non-violent and disciplined” but says they should not stop until all officers involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake are indicted.

He began the briefing by sharing a clip of Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth speaking in 2018 about a group of Black shoplifters. Beth said, “Society has to come to a threshold where there are some people who aren’t worth saving ... put them away for the rest of their lives so the rest of us can be better."

Jackson says there is a clear double standard to how law enforcement treats white and Black people. He cites the police officers who bought Dylann Roof a meal after he killed nine Black churchgoers in South Carolina, that Kyle Rittenhouse walked past police and returned home after allegedly killing two people in Kenosha, and that the police officer who shot Jacob Blake went home the night of the shooting.

“White neighborhoods should not be sanctuaries for killers,” says Jackson.

He went on to thank athletes, specifically Lebron James, for getting involved and using their power to bring attention to Blake’s case after refusing to play Wednesday.

- Jack Hurbanis

11:14 a.m.: Packers Postpone Thursday Practice

The Green Bay Packers postponed their 10:30 a.m. practice Thursday, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

This comes after the Bucks and Brewers both decided to sit out their games Wednesday in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake. It also comes the day after the fourth anniversary of Colin Kaepernick beginning his protest of police brutality during a pre-season game against the Packers.

After postponing practice, Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling tweeted:

- Jack Hurbanis

11 a.m.: Private Wisconsin College Cancels Pence Commencement Speech

A private Milwaukee college has canceled plans to have Vice President Mike Pence deliver a commencement address this weekend, citing unrest in nearby Kenosha where police shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, and two people were killed during protests that followed.

Wisconsin Lutheran College said Thursday that “after further review with careful consideration of the escalating events in Kenosha,” it decided to not have Pence deliver the speech.

The vice president will be replaced by the Rev. Mark Jeske, of St. Marcus Lutheran Church.

Kenosha police shot Blake seven times in the back on Sunday evening, minutes after responding to a domestic incident. Blake survived but is paralyzed from the waist down, and the shooting sparked several nights of protests and violence. On Tuesday night, authorities allege that Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old police admirer from nearby Antioch, Illinois, shot and killed two protesters and wounded a third.

Pence was scheduled to deliver his speech outside at the private college, which has about 1,200 students and is about 40 miles from Kenosha.

More than 230 students and alumni signed an open letter posted online objecting to the visit, which was announced prior to the violence in Kenosha.

- Associated Press

10:48 a.m.: Pence Aide: NBA Protest Over Kenosha Are 'Absurd And Silly'

Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff said Thursday that NBA protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, are “absurd and silly.”

“If they want to protest, I don’t think we care,” Marc Short told CNN's “New Day.”

His comments came the day after the NBA postponed three scheduled playoff games, with the Milwaukee Bucks kicking off the boycott by refusing to leave their locker room for the game against the Orlando Magic. The players are demanding that lawmakers act to address police brutality and racial injustice.

Players and teams from MLB, the WNBA, MLS and pro tennis sat out events Wednesday night, and NBA players and coaches met for nearly three hours to determine the next steps, including whether the season should continue.

“I don’t know that you are going to see the administration weigh in one way or the other. In my mind it’s absurd and silly,” Short said.

President Donald Trump, who was to deliver his renomination acceptance speech Thursday evening at a scaled-back Republican National Convention, has made restoring “law and order” to cities a centerpiece of his campaign during a summer of sometimes violent protests following the death of George Floyd, a Black man whose killing by Minneapolis police in late May spurred national unrest.

Short also took aim at the NBA's relative silence over human rights abuses in China, a key market for the league. The NBA last month faced scathing criticism from Republicans after an ESPN report that young participants in a league program in China were physically beaten by Chinese instructors and were not provided proper schooling.

Short also questioned why the league’s players and coaches have largely refrained from criticizing China's human rights violations and from expressing support for Hong Kong.

The league and its players have been outspoken in calls for reforms in the aftermath of the killing of Floyd. The NBA has even incorporated its support for the Black Lives Matter movement into player uniforms and advertising. Trump has that movement “a symbol of hate."

“NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially,’ White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said told CNBC on Thursday.

In a separate appearance before an event hosted by Politico, Kushner said that he planned to reach out to Los Angles Lakers star LeBron James, an outspoken advocate for policing changes.

“Look, I do think that peaceful protest has a place and it has importance,” Kushner said. “But I do think that what we need to do right now is make sure that we take the anger that people have and we have to move from slogans to constructive solutions.”

- Associated Press