Protesters overnight in Kenosha burned a furniture store and in Madison broke windows and set dumpsters on fire in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake that has left him paralyzed.
Online video on Sunday showed a Kenosha officer shooting Blake in the back multiple times as he entered his vehicle, sparking another round of unrest and protests over police treatment towards people of color. That also spurred a special session call from.Gov. Tony Evers, imploring Republican lawmakers to act on his package of police reform measures.
Blake’s father said Jacob Blake is now paralyzed from the waist down, according to local media.
Evers had mobilized the National Guard in Kenosha to protect infrastructure and assist local authorities.
But the deployment drew questions this morning from Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, who tweeted a video of a burning furniture store and asked what orders were given to the members of the National Guard who were deployed to Kenosha.
U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, whose district covers Kenosha County, called for an end to “the violence and destruction we witnessed the past two nights.”
He said Evers and Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian should request federal assistance if they don’t believe they have “sufficient resources” to address the violence.
Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway in a statement said the city respects First Amendment rights to protest, but “we draw the line at arson, theft and criminal damage to property damage that puts people’s lives in danger.”
“It is time to work together to put our energy and our anger into more productive measures,” she said. “This behavior does not build a movement — it undercuts the movement, and in Madison, it divides a community that largely supports change.”
Police in the capital city reported protestors set “numerous” dumpster and trash fires, broke windows and looted multiple businesses. Among the office buildings that sustained damage were buildings on the Capitol Square and the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce building, where graffiti read: “You have stolen more than we could ever loot.”
According to a Madison Police Department incident report, “One business was entered, and members of the crowd poured what appeared to be gasoline inside it, then attempted to start it on fire.”
Reports also indicate police deployed tear gas and pepper spray to disperse crowds. Police say six arrests were made in Madison. The Kenosha Police Department was not immediately available for comment on how many arrests were made.
See the incident report here.
See more reaction in the WisPolitics.com press release section.