On Tuesday, President Donald Trump visited Kenosha to survey the damage done in the city during recent protests sparked after the shooting of Jacob Blake.
During his visit, Trump held a press conference where he announced that he would be offering money to support and rebuild Kenosha, according to NPR. The Trump administration is set to provide $1 million to the Kenosha law enforcement, $4 million to support small businesses and over $42 million to support public safety across Wisconsin, according to a transcript of the event.
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Trump praised Attorney General William Barr, who wanted more money for Kenosha law enforcement, for how he has handled recent allegations against police officers’ treatment of Black people. The president also praised Kenosha law enforcement.
“[The administration is] hiring more police, surging tough on crime federal prosecutors, increasing penalties for assaulting law enforcement and for dismantling Antifa,” Trump said at the event in Kenosha.
A leader from Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement — a Milwaukee based advocacy group — said in a statement to The Badger Herald that they believe WI BOPM money should be reallocated to the community. The leader, who has chosen to remain anonymous, said this money should instead be used for bailout funds, social security, welfare and unemployment programs instead of going to law enforcement.
The source said WI BOMP supports protesters’ right to engage in public demonstration “against the system.” Additionally, they said the organization is advocating that all charges be dropped and the curfew be lifted.
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The current 7 p.m. curfew was enacted by Kenosha officials Monday and was lifted Wednesday, according to NPR. Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian said in a statement that recent protests were “relatively peaceful,” so the curfew was no longer needed.
Despite the lifting of the curfew, four individuals protesting were arrested by Kenosha police for violating curfew earlier in the week, according to the CBC. As a result of their arrest, four protesters have filed a lawsuit against the city of Kenosha and Kenosha County for their and other protesters’ unlawful imprisonment.
Deja Vishny, a criminal defense lawyer for one of the protesters, said the curfew was illegal because it was targeted to impact certain individuals — in this case, the protesters in Kenosha.
“[The] police will only stop anti-police protesters … it is a selective curfew [which is unconstitutional,]” Vashny said.
Black Lives Activists of Kenosha board member Djuan Wash said the recent administration’s action is “a way to discourage dissent.” Following Trump’s visit to Kenosha, Wash said Trump’s goal is to actively divide people.
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Wash said BLAK’s first demand is the arrest of the officer who killed Jacob Blake. The second demand calls for the termination of the Kenosha police chief and the resignation of the Kenosha County sheriff. Wash said BLAK plans on continuing to protest in Kenosha until their demands are met.
“[BLAK] can’t be concerned with the acts of others. We will continue to nonviolently protest to gain justice for Jake Blake,” Wash said. “We have to hold those folks accountable.”