ACLU demands Kenosha officials resign following the shooting of Jacob Blake
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has called for the ousting of three Kenosha, Wis., officials following the response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake and the killing of two protesters.
The influential activist organization said in a statement on Thursday that it wants Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth and Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian to resign.
“The ACLU strongly condemns Sheriff Beth and Police Chief Miskinis’ response to both the attempted murder of Jacob Blake and the protests demanding justice for him. Their actions uphold and defend white supremacy, while demonizing people who were murdered for exercising their first amendment rights and speaking out against police violence.” said Chris Ott, executive director of the ACLU’s Wisconsin branch. “The only way to rectify these actions is for both Sheriff Beth and Police Chief Daniel Miskinis to immediately tender their resignations.”
Miskinis, Beth and Antaramian led a press conference Wednesday afternoon that lacked new, definitive facts about the shooting of Blake and the protesters.
But at one point, Miskinis suggested that the fatal shooting of the two protesters, and a third person who was injured, was the fault of people who were on the streets of Kenosha past the city’s recently imposed 7 p.m. curfew.
Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Antioch, Ill., was charged earlier on Wednesday in connection to the shooting on Tuesday.
“Everybody involved was out after the curfew,” Miskinis said. “I’m not [going to] make a great deal of it but the point is — the curfew’s in place to protect. Had persons not been out involved in violation of that, perhaps the situation that unfolded would not have happened.”
He added: “This is not a police action. This is not the action, I believe, of those who set out to do protests. It is the persons who were involved after the legal time, involved in illegal activity, that brought violence to this community.”
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) also revealed on Wednesday that the officer who shot Blake, 29, was Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department.
Blake was seriously wounded Sunday afternoon when Sheskey shot him seven times in the back at point-blank range while responding to a reported domestic incident.
Graphic cellphone footage showed Blake walking away from a pair of police officers toward his car. As he attempted to get in his car — where his three children were — an officer could be seen pulling Blake back by his shirt before firing off several rounds.
Witnesses have said that Blake was not part of the domestic incident but was trying to break it up when police arrived.
Protests have rocked Kenosha since Blake was shot. Property damage has been reported at local businesses, prompting Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) to mobilize the state’s National Guard.