Justice Dept. to Open Investigation Into Kenosha Shooting


KENOSHA, Wis. — The Justice Department on Wednesday introduced a civil rights investigation into the police capturing of a Black man in Kenosha, Wis., as new particulars emerged within the case, a white teenager who confronted demonstrators was arrested in reference to two deaths, and protests unfold to athletes in three professional sports activities leagues.

Protesters have poured into Kenosha’s streets to decry the capturing of Jacob Blake, a Black father who was partially paralyzed after a white officer fired at him in entrance of his youngsters. The authorities launched new particulars of the case on Wednesday that gave a clearer image of why law enforcement officials confronted Mr. Blake, who they stated had a knife.

Amid the ire over the capturing of Mr. Blake, some in Kenosha have torched buildings, and the authorities have fired tear gasoline in an effort to clear the streets. Counterprotesters have additionally emerged, and gunfire broke out alongside one crowded, darkish road late Tuesday, sending bystanders fleeing into parking heaps and screaming in terror.

The violence that broke out got here as demonstrators scuffled with a bunch of males carrying lengthy weapons who stated they have been defending the realm from looting. The authorities have been investigating whether or not the white teenager who was arrested on Wednesday, recognized as Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was a part of a vigilante group. His social media accounts appeared to present an intense affinity for weapons, regulation enforcement and President Trump. (The Trump campaign said Mr. Rittenhouse “had nothing to do” with the president’s re-election effort.)

Mr. Evers on Wednesday announced that his office was sending more members of the Wisconsin National Guard to Kenosha — the numbers have grown to 500 from about 125 earlier in the week — as protests have intensified. On Tuesday, Mr. Evers declined federal assistance from the White House, his office said, but additional conversations took place on Wednesday.

It was uncertain what federal assistance Mr. Evers had been offered and details of any federal involvement were uncertain late Wednesday, though an official in Mr. Evers’s office indicated that some level of help had been accepted.

“The federal government is planning to assist in facilitating conversations with other state partners and provide F.B.I. support to our state response,” Britt Cudaback, Mr. Evers’s deputy communications director, said in a written statement.

Officials on Wednesday for the first time identified the Kenosha police officer who fired at Mr. Blake as Rusten Sheskey, who has been with the department for seven years. Officer Sheskey and two other officers who were present at the shooting have been placed on administrative leave as the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation investigates the case, which officials provided new details of on Wednesday evening.

Officers were responding to a domestic complaint on Sunday afternoon when they attempted to arrest Mr. Blake, state officials said. They used a Taser on Mr. Blake but it failed to stop him, and Officer Sheskey then fired his gun seven times into Mr. Blake’s back.

According to state officials, Mr. Blake admitted that he possessed a knife; a knife was later recovered from the driver’s-side floorboard of Mr. Blake’s car. There were no other weapons in the vehicle.

The Wisconsin attorney general, Josh Kaul, said he could not comment on the role of the knife or whether officers instructed Mr. Blake to drop it before the officer opened fire.

Ben Crump, a lawyer for Mr. Blake’s family, said in a statement that Mr. Blake had not posed any threat to police officers on Sunday, and denied that he was carrying a knife. “Jacob did nothing to provoke police,” Mr. Crump said. “He was a great father and was only intending to get his children out of a volatile situation.”

Michael D. Graveley, the Kenosha County district attorney, said the prosecutor’s office would decide whether criminal charges were warranted once the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation completes its inquiry. “I ask for as much patience as our times allow,” he said.

Until Wednesday, much of what was known of the shooting was from video footage taken by a neighbor that showed Mr. Blake being shot in the back as he tried to get into his car.

Kenosha officials vowed not to let the violence that has unfolded since Sunday continue. They announced that a curfew, which has been moved up to 7 p.m., would extend through the weekend. “It’s something we have to do,” Sheriff David Beth said.

On Tuesday night, loosely organized demonstrations had taken place in a shifting, hourslong standoff between the police and protesters. Early in the night, protesters assembled outside a newly erected metal barrier protecting a county courthouse downtown and threw water bottles, rocks and fireworks at officers.

The police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, repeatedly warning the crowd through a bullhorn that they were violating the city curfew of 8 p.m. and risking arrest. The crowd was eventually forced out of the park with tear gas and onto city streets, where the standoff continued.

Many protesters left the area, but others lingered and walked to a gas station several blocks away. There, a group of men with guns stood outside, promising to protect the property and verbally sparring with the arriving protesters. As the night stretched on, the gas station became a tense gathering spot, with bystanders watching from parked cars and people milling around in the street, arguing and occasionally shoving one another.

Police officers had crept closer to the area in armored trucks, urging the people who were still there to go home.

The postponement also affected first-round games between the Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers, and between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets.

Players from the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors said on Wednesday that they were considering boycotting the first game of their series on Thursday night, and that some had raised the possibility of leaving the N.B.A.’s restricted site at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla., where the league is playing out its season in quarantine because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Julie Bosman reported from Kenosha, and Sarah Mervosh from New York. Marc Stein and Sopan Deb contributed reporting from Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Katie Benner from Washington, and Annie Karni from North Haven, Maine. Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.



Source link Nytimes.com

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