Kenosha protests remain peaceful night after investigators identify officer who shot Jacob Blake

KENOSHA, WI -- Kenosha protests in wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake remained under control Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Previous nights of protests have led to violent clashes between police and demonstrators, who are making their voices heard in wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

SEE ALSO: Father says Jacob Blake is paralyzed after being shot in the back by police

"I'm not ready to live in a police state, and I'm not ready to let them take that away from me," Kenosha resident and protester Brietta Logan said.

Tezzaree Champion agreed.

"You shot that boy, and people got killed," Champion said. "Due to that incident we're still going to be out here even after curfew. You can bring the SWAT, bring (the) Army."

Previous nights of protests have led to violent clashes between police and protesters, with buildings and trucks set on fire. On Tuesday night, two people were killed and another wounded in a shooting and an Illinois teenager is in custody for that shooting.

On Wednesday, Wisconsin authorities released more details about what led up to a Kenosha police officer shooting Jacob Blake in the back seven times.

The Wisconsin attorney general revealed a 911 call came in from a woman who said her boyfriend was present but was not supposed to be on the premises

Family members said Blake was at the scene trying to help the situation when officers arrived. When Blake started to leave, officers said they told him to stop but he kept walking away toward his vehicle.

One officer tried to use a stun gun to stop Blake, but it did not work. Blake opened the door to his vehicle, where his three children were inside, and an officer opened fire.

Authorities also said Blake said he had a knife, which police did find in his car. Right now, the officers involved are on administrative leave pending the investigation.

The officer responsible for shooting Blake was identified as Rusten Sheskey. Sheshkey has been on the force for seven years.

The U.S. Department of Justice also confirmed a federal civil rights investigation is underway. The FBI will be working with state investigators in Wisconsin.

VIGILANTES

Repeated calls for armed vigilantes to travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to protect businesses following the police shooting of Jacob Blake spread across social media in the hours before two people were shot to death and a third was wounded during a third night of unrest in the city.

Multiple threads on Facebook and Reddit urged militias and other armed people to head to the protests, researchers at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Lab said in a blog post Wednesday. The demonstrations broke out after Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was left paralyzed Sunday when he was shot from behind by officers answering a domestic dispute call.

Two people were killed by gunfire Tuesday night and Kyle Rittenhouse, a white 17-year-old from nearby Antioch, Illinois, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide.

A video director for the conservative website The Daily Caller tweeted Wednesday that he had conducted a video interview with the suspected gunman before the shooting and posted a clip in which the armed young man, standing in front of a boarded-up building, said "our job is to protect this business."

"And part of my job is to also help people," he said. "If there is somebody hurt, I'm running into harm's way. That's why I have my rifle -- because I can protect myself, obviously. But I also have my med kit."

The Atlantic Council researchers said that before the attack some of the online discussions encouraged acts of violence while the conspiracy website InfoWars amplified the call to arms, potentially encouraging more armed people to head to Kenosha. In Wisconsin, people 18 and over can legally openly carry a gun without a permit.

Facebook confirmed Wednesday that it took down a page called Kenosha Guard for violating its policy against militia organizations. The company said it also is in the process of removing other accounts and material tied to the shootings that violate its policies, such as for glorifying violence, and it is in contact with local and federal law enforcement on the matter.

Facebook later said it removed the suspected shooter's accounts from Facebook and Instagram.

The company said it had not found evidence on Facebook that suggests the suspected shooter followed the Kenosha Guard Page or was invited on its Event Page to go to the protests.

"However, the Kenosha Guard Page and their Event Page violated our new policy addressing militia organizations and have been removed on that basis," the company said in a statement.

The Atlantic Council researchers said that 13 hours before the shootings, the Kenosha Guard Facebook page "actively solicited armed individuals to protect neighborhoods that evening."

"At 10:44 a.m. local time, the administrator of the 'Kenosha Guard' page asked if any members were willing to 'take up arms and defend out (sic) City tonight from the evil thugs,'" the researchers said. "They continued, 'Nondoubt (sic) they are currently planning on the next part of the City to burn tonight!'''

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said Wednesday militia members or armed vigilantes had been patrolling the city's streets in recent nights and asked about being deputized.

"Yesterday, I had a person call me and say, 'Why don't you deputize citizens who have guns to come out and patrol the city of Kenosha, and I am like, 'Oh, hell no.'"

He said once he deputizes someone "they are a liability to me and the county."

Ray Roberts, a 38-year-old Black Kenosha resident and Army veteran, said men from "rural areas got in big trucks loaded up with guns and flags and got into town."

"You would see them driving into town after curfew and cops not stopping them," Roberts said.
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