Chaos in Kenosha


Stephan Maturen

Do you like to scroll through social media, listen to the radio, or watch the news often? If so, then you have most likely stumbled upon the recent activities going on in Kenosha. Kenosha is a city in Wisconsin located on Lake Michigan. It is usually a relatively quiet and peaceful town, however, that changed quickly. According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, on Sunday, August 23, the Kenosha Police Department officers were dispatched after a female caller claimed that her boyfriend was trespassing and refused to leave.

Jacob Blake with cousin Adria-Joi Watkins. (Adria-Joi)

This man is identified as Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old African American man. He had a warrant out for his arrest in connections to a domestic abuse and sexual assault claim made earlier in the year. After the officer’s arrival, Rusten Sheskey and Vincent Arenas, they deployed their tasers. However, neither of these attempts were successful in stopping Blake. The following events are not clear because the Kenosha Police Department does not use body cameras, so the stories differ. The one thing that is clear from the footage taken from a phone, Blake walked around to the other side of his car, where three of his kids were, opened the passenger door, and leaned forward. From there Officer Sheskey grabbed onto his shirt and fired his gun 7 times into Blake’s back. He was immediately transported to Froedtert Hospital where it was announced he would be paralyzed from the waist down. Blake’s family lawyer, Ben Crump, said it would “take a miracle for Jacob Blake to walk again.”

Before the shots were fired it is unclear what happened. Some say Blake threatened to grab a knife, or gun, out of his car while others said he was “brandishing his knife”. Investigators did find a knife on the driver’s side floorboard, but no additional weapons or potential weapons were found during this search.

Protest in Kenosha. (Scott Olson)

Like many of the recent shootings that have occurred, there were protests that followed. During these protest, it is suspected that some violence occurred between the protesters supporting BLM and protesters defending the police. This led to the death of two more people and the injury of another. Kyle Rittenhouse, a former member of a youth police cadet program, turned himself in at the Antioch police headquarters on Wednesday, and was charged with first-degree intentional homicide and possession of a dangerous weapon before the age of 18.

The protests in Kenosha are not the only ones that occurred. On August 26, the three NBA games set were postponed after the Milwaukee Bucks announced they would not play. All three WNBA games were also delayed, along with five MLS matches. Naomi Osaka, a tennis star, announced that she would be withdrawing from tournaments in order to fight for racial equality. Following their lead, on August 27, the New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, and Washington Football Team announced that they would not be practicing. The Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Chicago Bears also postponed the start of their practices and planned to use the time to discuss social change as a team. In addition to this, the MLB  postponed three of their games and a handful of their players spoke out against the recent events.

Protest in Washington DC. 1963 vs. 2020 (redfish media)

In Washington DC, Jacob Blake’s family member’s joined Martin Luther King III and thousands of others to protest. Meanwhile, in a recent video released by presidential candidate and Joe Biden’s campaign group, Biden stated, “What I saw in the video makes me sick. Once again, a black man has been shot by the police in broad daylight with the whole world watching.”

So what will happen to the police officer that shot Jacob Blake? Will he be charged for using unnecessary force? Once Blake gets out of the hospital will he go to jail, or will the charges against him be dropped? These are questions that the Department of Justice is currently sorting out, and will answer once the prosecutor reviews the report and determines if any charges are necessary.

“People are tired of having to say the same thing over and over again, and not seeing the change we deserve.” ”

— -Patrisse Cullors with the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Emotional and polictically charged decisions are never easy to make. No matter what the prosecutor’s final decision is, people will be angry. If they decide to press charges on the officer, people will be upset and defend the officer. If they decide to not press charges, people will be upset that the officer escaped with little consequences. With racism being a main lens in the nation right now, and rioting already happening, it is important for the prosecutor to make a decision based solely on facts.