Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Home Global Fires in Kenosha Reflect Anger After Police Shooting of Jacob Blake

Fires in Kenosha Reflect Anger After Police Shooting of Jacob Blake

U.S.|Fires in Kenosha Reflect Anger After Police Shooting of Jacob Blake

Some Wisconsin residents were stunned as buildings went up in flames. Protesters were upset that the police shot Mr. Blake, a Black man, in the back as he tried to enter a vehicle.

Credit…Carlos Javier Ortiz for The New York Times

KENOSHA, Wis. — An afternoon that had begun with peaceful marches in protest of a police shooting gave way to fires, destruction and looting in Kenosha as a strip of businesses in a central residential neighborhood was consumed in flames early Tuesday.

Residents emerged from their houses around midnight to gape at billowing smoke that could be seen for miles. Lost in the blaze, neighbors said, was a mattress store, a storefront church, a Mexican restaurant and a cellphone store. Less than a mile away, a probation and parole office was also on fire.

A line of National Guard members, called to Kenosha amid rising tension over the shooting on Sunday of Jacob Blake, a Black resident who was shot by a white police officer, prevented anyone from getting close as firefighters worked to douse the flames.

“This is our town,” said Mike Mehlan, 33, a chef, as he stared at the buildings, stunned. “People have lost their damn minds.”

Mr. Mehlan said that just a half-hour before, he saw at least 20 cars pull up to a nearby gas station, break in and then head to the stores one block away. They entered the mattress store and set it on fire, he said.

Credit…Carlos Javier Ortiz for The New York Times

The worst destruction was limited to a relatively small area of the city, which is home to about 100,000 people, and some neighborhoods of Kenosha were quiet. At least one sheriff’s deputy was injured in the neck by a firework that was set off. It was uncertain whether there were arrests.

One resident said he had little problem with burning businesses to spur social change and reform to policing. “It’s unfortunate, but it has to be done,” said Wayne Gardner, who lives around the corner.

In several cities around the country, there were flashes of destruction overnight that were tied to calls for police reform.

In Portland, Ore., several fires were set near the Portland Police Association building, and the police warned protesters in a post on Twitter: “This is now a RIOT. Leave the area now.” “Multiple arrests” were made, the police said. And in Madison, Wis., about 4,000 people gathered near the State Capitol and marched downtown, some smashing glass storefronts and setting dumpsters ablaze. A liquor store was looted.

In Kenosha, Chauncey Body, 44, watched the flames from the sidewalk. “This hurts,” he said.

He said that if the fires were set in the name of protest, he believed in the conviction behind them. “But this is a neighborhood. They’re putting lives in danger,” he said.

Kenosha, which has been engulfed in protests, unrest and destruction for two days, is under a curfew of 8 p.m. Police officers attempted to disperse people who were standing outside, with little success. They used tear gas to try to clear people away.

Sheriff David Beth of Kenosha County said the police were outnumbered. “We’ve got 200 officers, I don’t know how many armored vehicles,” he said. “It’s not enough. It’s a battle we aren’t able to keep up with.”


Credit…Carlos Javier Ortiz for The New York Times

Yonette Joseph and Tiffany May contributed reporting from Hong Kong.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

English pubs to close at 10pm amid Covid spread

Image copyright PA Media All pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues in England must have a 22:00 closing time from Thursday, to help curb the spread of coronavirus.The sector will also be restricted by law to table service only. The measures will be set out by the prime minister in Parliament before an address…

Why this Trudeau speech is a big deal

Image copyright AFP via Getty Images Image caption Canadian PM Justin Trudeau will unveil his agenda for Canada's pandemic recovery As Canada's parliament returns and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seeks to put an ethics scandal behind him, his government will this week unveil its plans for the country's pandemic response and recovery. The last time…

First Space Force deployment not so far, far away

Image copyright US Air Force handout With one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind, US Space Force troops have now boldly gone where many American soldiers have gone before. The Middle East.Earlier this month, 20 US troops were sworn in as Space Force recruits at the Al Udeid Air Base in…

Trump to name Supreme Court nominee ‘by week’s end’

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionHundreds of people visited the US Supreme Court to pay their respects to the late justice Ruth Bader GinsburgPresident Trump has said he will name a replacement to Ruth Bader Ginsburg by week's end and urged the Republican-controlled Senate to confirm his Supreme Court choice before 3…