Kenosha County Sheriff's comments from 2018 that 'these people have to be warehoused' resurface
KENOSHA, Wis. (WLS) -- Kenosha protests in wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake remained under control as calls for change were amplified by civil rights leaders Thursday.
Previous nights of protests have led to violence clashes between police and demonstrators, but Kenosha was quiet Thursday evening.
For the first time since Sunday, a sense of calm has settled in, despite anger over Jacob Blake, destruction, and the alleged murders of two protesters. Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Antioch has been formally charged with murder in Tuesday night's fatal shooting.
"I've lived here my entire life. I feel like prayers can be answered," Kenosha resident Traci Slade said. "t It saddens me every time I drive around. It brings me to tears. It's awful."
"We used to live in a good city," resident Barbara Randolph said. "We used to not have all this. I grew up here. We could walk around Kenosha all day and all night and no one would bother us and we had no fear."
The intoxicating anger set off by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, then reignited by the shooting deaths of two protesters, is simmering. But it is by no means gone.
"This is triggered by what happened to Jacob Blake, but what we're protesting is that Black people should be treated the same as white people. It's really that simple," said Rich Null, a protester from Racine.
The American Civil Liberties Union is calling for Kenosha's police chief and the sheriff to resign.
Members of the NAACP and Reverend Jesse Jackson with the Rainbow Push Coalition called for the indictment of three Kenosha police officers involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake, including the officer caught on video who fired multiple shots into Blake's back.
"We must protest until the three of them have been indicted," Rev. Jackson said.
Rev. Jesse Jackson reprised a clip from a 2018 news conference with Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth. In the clip, Sheriff Beth spoke about five Black people arrested for shoplifting and leading police on a high speed chase that ended in a collision.
"Let's put them in jail. Let's stop them from, truly, at least some of these males, going out and getting 10 other women pregnant and having small children," Beth said in 2018. "These people have to be warehoused, no recreational time in jails. We put them away. We put them away for the rest of their lives so the rest of us can be better."
Sheriff Beth apologized days later, but civil rights leaders say this is what the community of Kenosha has been up against.
"He's using this dog and whistle, 'these people.' We are not 'these people,'" said Bishop Tavis Grant, with Rainbow PUSH Coalition. "We are Black people and Black lives matter."
In the meantime, law enforcement said the crowds were peaceful Wednesday night, although some arrests were made.
"Unfortunately there was still weapons charges, there were still persons arrested on warrants and I believe there were some other cases as well," Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said.
In addition to the arrests the chief mentioned, Kenosha police said officers together with U.S. Marshals arrested nine people for disorderly conduct, after apprehending three vehicles with out-of-state plates that were filled with helmets, gas masks, illegal fireworks and more.
The investigation into the deadly shooting during Tuesday night's protests continues.
"I have no additional information to share regarding the deaths of those persons from the night before," Miskinis said. "But rest assured those investigations continue and we'll build a strong case based upon the facts."
The protests came as more details were released on what led up to the shooting of Jacob Blake multiple times in the back by a Kenosha police officer.
Family members said the shooting left the 29-year-old father paralyzed from the waist down. Blake's father wants to know why his son had been handcuffed to his hospital bed, despite being paralyzed from the waist down.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers was asked about it during a news conference Thursday evening.
"I would have no personal understanding why that would be necessary," Gov. Evers said. "Certainly he's paid a horrific price already, being seven or eight times in the back, so I can't imagine why that's happening and I would hope that we would be able to find a more better way to have him get better, have him recover than that."
A warrant was issued on July 7 for Blake's arrest on sexual assault and domestic abuse charges, yet it is unclear at this time if that is why he is handcuffed.
The U.S. Department of Justice also confirmed a federal civil rights investigation is underway. The FBI will be working with state investigators in Wisconsin, but any possible charges or outcome are likely weeks away.
"There is no need for more violence before the real truth comes out," Kenosha resident Penny Carlino said.