Another mass rally gets underway Saturday afternoon in the midwestern U.S. city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, after a night of peaceful protests over the shooting of an African American man in the back by a white policeman.
The family of victim Jacob Blake and activists organized the rally as National Guard units stand by with orders to prevent more unrest that erupted in Kenosha earlier in the week in response to the shooting.
The 29-year-old Blake was shot in the back seven times Sunday, August 23, in front of witnesses, including Blake’s own young children, leaving him partially paralyzed and turning the predominately white city of 100,000 into the latest hot-spot in a summer of nationwide protests against charges of police brutality and systemic racism.
Arson, vandalism and other acts of violence devasted a largely minority community Monday night, one day before a teenager, who was seen on video roaming the streets with an assault rifle, fatally shot two demonstrators and wounded a third.
Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, surrendered to police Wednesday close to his home in the state of Illinois near the Wisconsin border, after video showed him trying to surrender in Kenosha minutes after the shootings, only to be told to get off the streets as police vehicles passed him by.
Rittenhouse has been charged with six criminal counts, including first-degree intentional homicide and unlawful possession of a firearm by a minor. One of his lawyers, Lin Wood, tweeted that Rittenhouse shot the demonstrators in self-defense.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said earlier in the week that Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake when he was resisting arrest after police responded to a call from a woman who reported her boyfriend arrived at her home without permission.
Kaul also said police later recovered a knife from the floor of the car Blake was leaning on when he was shot. Blake’s lead attorney, Benjamin Crump, said his client was not armed with a knife and did not threaten or provoke the police.
The police officers involved in the encounter with Blake have been on administrative leave, pending an investigation by the Wisconsin Justice Department.
Governor Tony Evers deployed more Wisconsin National Guard troops earlier in the week to help local law enforcement agencies restore and maintain order.