Friday 28 August 2020

"Fiery but mostly peaceful" - How CNN sees violence in Kenosha

 In the interests of giving 'both sides of the story' here is an article from the Guardian.

Notice how violent riots are called 'protests', even as they show the results of the destruction.

"Fiery but mostly peaceful". See how CNN describes nights of violence and rioting.  With most of the footage I have seen of rioting, looting and violence just about all faces are young and WHITE.

'We've all had enough': 

Kenosha in anguish over 

Jacob Blake shooting

Adam Mahoney in Kenosha

The Guardian,

27 August, 2020

Communities have been left to come to terms with the setback for race relations, a frayed relationship with police and the damage that has upended daily life

Antwainnetta Edwards is a new mom. Just weeks ago she had a baby girl and worked hard preparing herself to raise a child during a coronavirus pandemic and the related economic crisis.

Now, as she stood on the porch of her home in Kenosha, rocking her newborn back and forth, she reflected on the last four days and nights that have shaken the small Wisconsin city since, once again in America, a white police officer shot a Black man during an interaction that went out of control, severely wounding Jacob Blake on Sunday.

Family-owned stores in Edwards’s neighborhood have been destroyed as largely peaceful protests against police brutality and racism splintered into violence on the fringes on Monday night.

Then the situation spiraled into chaos on Tuesday night as white, armed vigilantes and militia members appeared on the streets and some attacked protesters who were chanting Black Lives Matter, just a five-minute walk from her home.

Two people were shot dead, others injured in terrifying street scenes, where police in armored vehicles patrolled the streets but did not impose curfew on the militia types and in one instance caught on tape appeared to encourage them, before bullets flew. An assault rifle-toting 17-year-old from out of town, Kyle Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of murder.

First, our house could’ve been burned down and now we have to travel all the way to the next county just for food, while police and outsiders armored-up to try controlling the streets,” Antwainnetta Edwards said on the porch of her house in Kenosha.

It’s scary. I just had a baby,” Edwards told the Guardian on Wednesday, indicating the little girl in her arms. “It’s a lot to deal with. First, our house could’ve been burned down and now we have to travel all the way to the next county just for food, while police and outsiders armored up to try controlling the streets.”

As a result of the unrest, every business in her largely Black and brown uptown neighborhood is either closed or destroyed.

The air was filled with lingering stacks of smoke on Wednesday with the streets strewn with rubble.

The community is in anguish over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old father who was gravely wounded after being shot in the back by a police officer.

He has been fighting for his life in hospital and undergoing emergency surgery, while paralyzed from the waist down and with injuries to his spine, stomach, intestines and kidneys.

Blake’s family have been pleading for calm, even as state troops were sent to Kenosha, Donald Trump pledged to send federal law enforcement and the county sheriff, David Beth, lamented troublemakers coming to Kenosha from other towns, causing chaos as they treated the protests “like a show”. On Wednesday night, the streets were calm, with peaceful local marches.

But communities like Edwards’s has been left to come to terms with the setback for race relations, which had been slowly improving in the city, and a frayed relationship with the police, and the damage that has upended daily life.

Just moments from her home, dozens of volunteers began operations in the blazing sun on Wednesday as temperatures made it into the 90s Fahrenheit, and set about lifting spirits.

They handed out water and pizza and began to clean up streets covered in debris and boarded-up storefronts. Music and laughter filled the air as the act of banding together served as a salve and the beginning of the healing process.

The bubble had to eventually pop and it did. Our community moved on from asking for help to demanding it. But in the meantime, we’re going to take care of ourselves. Sadly, we have to be the ones to do it, but this is what happens when people ignore the needs of a large part of our country,” said Tom Judt, a Kenosha native, as he helped clear up.

He added: “The destruction is going to hit us hard economically, but it’s awesome to see everyone working their butt off in the heat to support each other.”

Hours past the 7pm curfew on Wednesday night, protesters cooked ribs and hotdogs on a grill and joined each other in Civic Center Park, where less than 24 hours before protesters were teargassed and shot with pepper balls.

Residents were left to wonder why the president would offer law enforcement but not funding assistance.

No one really cares about this community here. Don’t let them fool you,” said local rapper Vincent Runnels. “It wasn’t protected like downtown because Black people live in this area. You see a lot of white folks out here in the community helping board up buildings and clean up now, but that’s just to save face.”

Runnels says the last few days have been especially traumatic because when reports of a Black man shot by the Kenosha police reached social media, members of his family flooded his phone inbox thinking it was him.

They were trying to make sure it wasn’t me. That’s a whole different feeling, I can’t explain it. And when I was finally able to get home and see what happened to [Jacob Blake] it was a lot to handle,” said Runnels.

The city, which in the last decade has only seen four murders a year on average, has found itself in unfamiliar territory as police violence, elements of community violence and a lack of resources all converge against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the Wisconsin state representative David Bowen, the goal is creating “the future that everyone deserves”, no matter their race or class.

Bowen’s awakening to systemic racial oppression came at a young age because of the constant threat of being targeted and roughed up by the police, he said, but noted that the issue of police violence is a symptom of larger problems.

There’s a bad culture within police forces in this country, but that’s a result of anti-Blackness and you can’t root out anti-Blackness by just getting rid of police or voting. Jacob Blake is the perfect example,” Bowen said over the phone to the Guardian as he drove from Kenosha to Milwaukee, 40 miles north on the shore of Lake Michigan, to fix his car that he says was targeted by white supremacists.

The circumstances leading up to Blake’s shooting by the police are still unclear, with reports that he had tried to break up an altercation between two other people, and also reports on Thursday that he had a knife in his car.

Jacob Blake was a part of protecting and serving his community by breaking up that fight. But, the police still came in and violently removed him from the situation because they have the power to uphold a system that thrives on removing Black bodies,” Bowen said on Wednesday.

An hour after the Guardian spoke to Bowen, the Wisconsin department of justice confirmed the identity of the officer who shot Blake as Rusten Sheskey.

As yet there is no news on whether he will be dismissed and arrested, leaving another hole in the healing process for many in Kenosha.

Back on her porch, Edwards said: “It’s time for the people in power to put human lives and the needs of the community first.”

She added: “We’ve all had enough. Now we all just need to come together, help each other in whatever ways are needed and make sure our government actually supports us.”

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