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Police charge additional 55 people in connection to Kenosha protests

Police charge additional 55 people in connection to Kenosha protests
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The Kenosha, Wis., Police Department said Friday that 55 additional people have been charged with crimes in connection to protests that became violent last year over the shooting of Jacob Blake

Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said in a statement shared with The Hill that 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.

Miskinis added that 35 of the people charged in the demonstrations last year were Kenosha residents. The police chief added that there are a number of suspects from outside the area, making them more difficult to identify.  

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“More arrests are expected in the coming months," Miskinis said. 

The charges are in addition to at least 250 arrested last year in connection to the protests, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Demonstrations in Kenosha erupted last year after Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake, a Black man, in the back several times while Blake was trying to enter Blake's vehicle, leaving him paralyzed. The incident was caught on video.

Some of the protests became violent when demonstrators threw water bottles at police officers, and several businesses burned to the ground.

Police in riot gear also fired rubber bullets, flash bangs and tear gas while trying to occupy space across from the Kenosha County Court House, according to footage released by ABC.

Counterprotesters also arrived at the scene, and two people were killed after Kyle Rittenhouse, a teenager from Antioch, Ill., allegedly opened fire into a crowd of demonstrators. 

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Rittenhouse, 18, has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide and intentional attempted homicide, among other charges. He has alleged that he attended the protest to defend local businesses. 

Sheskey has not been charged in connection with the shooting. However, Blake has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the officer, alleging excessive force. The suit was filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, according to a report from NPR.

The suit alleges that Blake suffered "catastrophic, permanent injuries" because of the actions taken by the officer. 

Updated 3:08 p.m.