Rally Supporting Police Draws Scores to Downtown Kenosha

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) -
An unidentified man participates in a Blue Lives Matter rally Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Scores of police supporters gathered Sunday in downtown Kenosha where protesters have been demonstrating against police brutality since the shooting of Jacob Blake last weekend.

Some attending the rally in the Wisconsin city wore “back the blue” shirts. Others carried American flags. They applauded when law enforcement vehicles rolled by.

“With the things that they face on a daily basis, they need that little extra push of love and to show that they are needed,” said Jennifer Peyton, 44, who attended the rally. “I mean, if you went in to work every day, and you were told that you were bad or had things thrown at you, I think it would weigh on your psyche a little bit, too.”

A Kenosha police officer shot Blake in the back on Aug. 23, leaving the 29-year-old Black man paralyzed.

Protesters have marched in Kenosha every night since Blake’s shooting, with some protests devolving into unrest that damaged buildings and vehicles. Authorities say a teenager from northern Illinois shot and killed two protesters in Kenosha on Tuesday night.

A 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. state of emergency curfew that was set to expire Sunday has been extended through 7 a.m. Wednesday, the Kenosha County sheriff’s office said.

Blake’s shooting sparked renewed protests against racial injustice and police brutality several months after George Floyd’s May 25 death touched off a wider reckoning on race.

Blake was shot after three Kenosha officers responded to a domestic dispute call.

In cellphone video recorded by a bystander, Blake walks from the sidewalk around the front of an SUV to his driver-side door as officers follow him with their guns drawn and shout at him. As Blake opens the door and leans into the SUV, an officer grabs his shirt from behind and opens fire. Three of Blake’s children were in the vehicle.

City officials have identified Rusten Sheskey as the officer who shot Blake.

The Kenosha police union said Blake had a knife and fought with officers. State investigators have said that officers found a knife on the floor of the car.

Blake is being treated in a hospital. His father, Jacob Blake Sr., said he’s paralyzed from the waist down.

Ben Crump, an attorney for the family, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the younger Blake suffered “catastrophic injuries” that include a pierced spinal cord and shattered vertebrae. He has lost his colon and most of his intestine, Crump said.

Like Floyd’s death, Blake’s shooting has fueled a national movement against police brutality and the slayings of Black people by law enforcement officers.

Some people at Sunday’s rally signed petitions urging the recall of Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, both Democrats, and added messages of support on handwritten posters thanking police as heroes.

About 1,000 people attended a rally to protest police violence Saturday.

Burned down Department of Corrections in Kenosha, Wis. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP)

The city’s mayor, John Antaramian, said Sunday that he will ask the state for $30 million to rebuild parts of Kenosha destroyed or damaged by the violence, according to the Kenosha News.

President Donald Trump has spoken out against the summer-long protests. He is expected to visit Kenosha on Tuesday to meet with law enforcement and survey damage from the demonstrations.

Evers wrote to Trump on Sunday, urging the president to reconsider his plans to visit Kenosha.

“I, along with other community leaders who have reached out, are concerned about what your presence will mean for Kenosha and our state. I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing. I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together,” Evers wrote.