Arrests Spark New Accusations in Kenosha

Activists say they're getting collared while militias are tolerated
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 29, 2020 10:00 AM CDT
Activists: Militias Tolerated as Protesters Get Arrested
Adelana Akindes, left, reacts after being released from a day in police custody Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis.   (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, were on alert after days of protests over the shooting of Jacob Blake by one of their colleagues, and they'd recently gotten a tip about "suspicious vehicles" from out of state. So, after watching a group of people fill cans at a gas station Wednesday and then hop into a minivan with Oregon plates, the officers sped in. A bystander’s video shows officers leaping out of black SUVs with guns drawn. About 25 seconds later, an officer shatters the van's passenger-side window with her baton, unlocks its door and pulls a person out. The AP reports that the group turned out to be members of Riot Kitchen, an organization that serves food at demonstrations. A member of its board of directors said they were filling up gas cans to power a generator for their food truck.

The nine taken into custody in the SWAT-style operation Wednesday were among dozens of people arrested this week in Kenosha. The arrests have highlighted activists’ complaints that police have been responding to protests over the white officer's shooting that left Blake, a Black man, paralyzed, even as they've tolerated armed militia groups. The Riot Kitchen members were charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, but all were free by Friday morning. Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said at a Friday news conference that "just under 50" people had been arrested during the protests. The department later provided a list of 58 charges, more than half of them for curfew violations, but declined to specify the number of people arrested or provide names. (Meanwhile, Blake is no longer shackled to his hospital bed.)

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