KENOSHA, Wis. – Fifty-five people are facing charges related to violent demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake last summer, police said Friday.
Kenosha Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake seven times in August during a domestic dispute, leaving him paralyzed. Blake, who is Black, was holding a pocketknife that had fallen from his pocket during a scuffle with police. Sheskey has not been charged, but Blake filed a civil lawsuit this week accusing him of using excessive force.
The shooting, captured on bystander video, turned the nation’s spotlight on Wisconsin during a summer marked by nationwide protests against police brutality and racism. The violent protests in Kenosha lasted for several nights.
“Large numbers of people engaged in lawful protest; however, many engaged in unlawful and dangerous activity,” Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said in a statement.
An Illinois teenager is facing multiple charges, including two homicide counts. Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch is accused of opening fire on protesters with an AR-15-style rifle, killing two people and injuring a third. According to prosecutors, Rittenhouse said he traveled to Kenosha on Aug. 25 to protect businesses from protesters.
Black Lives Matter supporters have painted him as a trigger-happy white supremacist. Rittenhouse argues he was attacked and fired in self-defense.
Miskinis said 49 adults and six minors are facing charges including arson, burglary, possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon, criminal damage and disorderly conduct. He said 35 of those charged are Kenosha residents. The new tally did not include Rittenhouse.
Police are trying to identify “many more suspects," Miskinis said, noting, “More arrests are expected in the coming months.”