Kenosha sheriff after shoplifting case in 2018: Some people ‘aren’t worth saving’
Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth is facing renewed criticism for controversial comments he made in 2018 amid protests this week over the police shooting of Jacob Blake and the fatal shooting of two protesters during demonstrations in the Wisconsin town.
Beth is drawing scrutiny for comments he made in 2018 following the arrest of five people who shoplifted close to $5,000 and then led police on a high-speed chase that ended in a crash, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Beth said during a press conference at the time that “I’m to the point where I think society has to come to a threshold where there are some people that aren’t worth saving.”
“We need to build warehouses to put these people into it and lock them away for the rest of their lives. These five people could care less about that 16-year-old who just got his driver’s license yesterday. They drove through a red light, they stole thousands of dollars worth of clothing, and they don’t care,” he continued.
During the press conference, Beth also said, “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. Let’s put them away. At some point, we have to stop being politically correct. I don’t care what race, I don’t care how old they are. If there’s a threshold that they cross. These people have to be warehoused, no recreational time in the jails. We put them away for the rest of their lives so the rest of us can be better.”
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) August 27, 2020
All five of the people arrested in 2018 were Black. No one was seriously injured in the crash involving the teen driver.
Beth received immediate backlash in 2018 for the comments, and groups called on him and his department to participate in anti-bias training, the Kenosha News reported.
He apologized and said that he met with two members of the Kenosha NAACP following the press conference.
“I should have kept my comments better directed toward the incident itself and not allowed my emotions to get the better of me at the time,” Beth said at the time. “I have been involved in hundreds of on camera interviews and press conferences and have shared my emotions before, but never in this fashion or this extent.”
Protests in Kenosha have erupted this week after Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot seven times by a Kenosha police officer on Sunday while leaning into his vehicle. His family has said that he is at least temporarily paralyzed from the waist down.
During one of the demonstrations, two people were shot and killed and another was injured.
Prosecutors in Wisconsin charged 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse on Thursday with first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless endangerment.
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