Kenosha, Wis.: a Battlefield of Justice

By: Riya Lahoti

Jacob Blake's Family Hosts Rally with Voter Drive, COVID Testing |  PEOPLE.com

THE SHOOTING OF JACOB BLAKE

Within the summer of 2020, a social movement advocating against Police brutality, and racially motivated violence, has gained national recognition: Black Lives Matter (BLM). Created in 2013, this movement has peaked again in a response to the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. However, recently, the same acts were seen in Kenosha, Wis., as well, a city near Oak Creek.

On August 23, Jacob Blake, a 23-year-old black male was shot seven times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, leaving him paralyzed. With video-footage spreading quickly, rage and controversy rose among the crowd, questioning if the actions of the police officers were reasonable or yet another example of the prejudiced behaviors BLM advocates against. 

WHAT HAPPENED?

Jacob Blake recently testified “not guilty” toward previous alleged charges of third-degree sexual assault that were issued in July. According to interviews, the Kenosha Police Department received a call from the same woman on August 3, claiming that Mr. Blake was outside her house. In response to previous charges, and new accusations on “domestic complaints,” they attempted to arrest him. 

With an initial forceful resist to arrest, police officers attempted to use the taser at first, claiming that Mr. Blake confessed to having a knife. (With later evidence showing he didn’t.) But having failed to incarcerate him, they then resorted to shooting him. 

Ben Crump, Jacob Blake’s lawyer stated that Mr. Blake was attempting to resolve a dispute/fight between two females when the police arrived. 

Three officers, including the police officer who shot Jacob Blake (Rusten Shesky, 31), have been placed on administrative leave until further notice. Currently the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting.

Kyle Rittenhouse pictured with possession of a assault-style rifle. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

KENOSHA SHOOTER: KYLE RITTENHOUSE

In response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, many BLM protests have emerged in the city of Kenosha. And the protests turned deadly.  Seventeen- year-old teenager Kyle Rittenhouse has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide and possession of a dangerous weapon after killing two people, and leaving one in critical condition. 

With initial peaceful protests sometimes turning into lootings of small businesses, a group in Kenosha gathered, with armed hands, to “protect” the town, without any request. Victim Joseph Rosenbaum, unarmed, along with others were seen chasing Mr. Rittenhouse due to this in attempts to unarm him. That’s when Rosenbaum was shot. 

However Rittenhouse’s attorney states that he didn’t shoot first, but opened fire in response to a gunshot behind him. When turning around, he saw a man, Rosenbaum, attempting to tackle him and reached for his rifle in an alleged attempt of “self-defense.”

Rittenhouse then attempted to flee but caught the attention of many nearby witnesses. Many started yelling “Get him! Get that dude!” and “Hey, he shot him!” and “Beat him up!” When running, the defendant fell to the ground and appeared to begin shooting toward the crowd behind where his second victim, Anthony Huber, was killed. A total of 16 gunshots unloaded through Rittenhouse and the crowd. 

Rittenhouse then backed up while pointing his gun at his third victim, Grosskreutez, who initially had his hands in the air. Soon after, he started coming near the teen with a handgun in his hand but never shot. Ritthouse however fired a single bullet toward Grosskruetz in the arm. Thankfully, Grosskruetz was able to survive the wound. During an interview with CNN, Grosskreutz stated: “I never fired my weapon that night. Everybody was there exercising their right to protest. And there were some people who were exercising their right to bear arms, including myself.”

President Donald Trump’s remarks upon this situation include, “He appeared to be in very big trouble” and “probably would have been killed” if he had not taken the actions he did. 

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