Did Wisconsin governor’s irresponsible comments help inflame Kenosha riots?

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers made irresponsible comments following the officer involved shooting in Kenosha. Riots broke out in the city following the confrontation.

Evers was admittedly uninformed yet he chose to pander to a police-hating constituency, and we’re calling him out.

Evers on Sunday night condemned the shooting of the man, who he identified as Jacob Blake, saying in a statement that “while we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country.”

Wow! Talk about inflammatory!

A responsible tweet would’ve mentioned something about a non-compliant suspect getting shot by police. Like so many cases, facts alter perspectives once the truth is known. Evers could’ve told citizens that his office would seek details before commenting. In the meantime, he should’ve asked people to remain calm while investigating authorities discover what occurred from A- Z. Lastly, he should have reminded people that due process will occur, but it will be done fairly, impartially, and justly.

But Evers didn’t say any of that. He poured gasoline on a fire and riots broke out. I’ve chronicled the results below.

One officer appeared to be knocked out after getting hit in the head with what witnesses described as a brick, according to a video posted on social media.

Graphic video posted by Twitter user @BotchlaUS on Sunday night shows a pair of officers walking around a police car amid a backdrop of fighting and small fires when the officer is seen suddenly collapsing to the ground, Law Officer reported.

Other police officers can be seen trying to help the injured cop as people in the background are heard yelling, “He just got bricked,” and, “F*** the police,” the video shows.

Riots quickly spread.

By late Sunday, multiple vehicle fires had been set and windows smashed along city thoroughfares as crowds faced off with law enforcement. Officers in riot gear stood in lines and SWAT vehicles remained on the streets to move people away from city buildings despite the declaration of an overnight curfew.

According to reporters at the scene, tear gas was used to disperse groups of people.

Naturally, every riot has its share of vandalism and looting.

An automobile dealership identified at Car Source was targeted by rioters during an overnight crime spree. Ironically, the dealership displayed a sign in support of Black Lives Matter. Apparently, the rioters didn’t care.

Kenosha car dealership

A different video appears to show multiple fires set throughout the car lot as car horns and loud bangs can be heard blaring in the background.

The aftermath looked something like this.

The OIS was extensively shared on social media.

Julian Castro, the former 2020 Democrat presidential hopeful, retweeted a video of the shooting that appeared to show officers yelling at Blake as he tried to walk around an SUV and get into a driver’s side seat. One of the officers appears to hold Blake by his shirt and open fire, Law Officer reported.

Dr. Ron Martinelli, a highly regarded forensic criminologist and author of “The Truth Behind the Black Lives Matter Movement and the War on Police,” shared the following preliminary perspective on the shooting with Law Officer:

I have now reviewed the only video we have about 12X. Here is the forensic analysis so far in seconds.

Entire videotape from start to first shot fired is 7 secs.

At 4 secs, as Blake walks around the front of the grey SUV he appears to place his left hand into his waistband just as he gets near the closed drivers side door.

At 5 secs, Blake appears to move his right hand into his waistband as he is facing away from the shooting officer.

At 5 secs., in response, the initial shooting officer grabs Blake’s shirt with his left support hand while pointing a gun at Blake’s back with his right (gun) hand. At this point, Blake opens the car door away from the officer and is actively pulling away from the officer.

At 6 secs, Blake continues to be pulling away from the restraining officer as he enters the drivers’ side door.

At 7 secs, Blake is observed to be bending down low as he enters the SUV. His body movements in bending low is inconsistent with how a normal person would enter a vehicle to sit in the driver’s seat.

At 7 secs, in response to Blake bending low inside the vehicle, the restraining officer begins shooting Blake.

Key notes here:

The video does not depict the encounter or any resistance between Blake and the two officers from the point he began walking around the front of the SUV.

The shooting officer(s) had one second or less to make a deadly force decision based upon his observations and experiences with Blake which were definitely furtive, suspicious, resistive and threatening to the officers.

Civilians and analysts need to review the totality of the circumstances from the standpoint of officers dealing with Blake and experiencing his resistance, his suspicious and furtive movement, his abnormal physical resistance to their efforts to restrain him, and their law enforcement education, training and experience.

25% of all officers shot/killed are killed during vehicle stops and encounters with people inside vehicles.

25% of all officers shot/killed are killed during domestic violence calls. This was a domestic violence call.

Obviously more information and evidence are needed. I caution people not to try to 20/20 hindsight, armchair quarterback this incident. Wait until all of the facts are in to make more informed decisions.

The governor will reportedly deploy the Wisconsin National Guard Monday night in order to avoid another period of chaos and disorder. However, he should also acknowledge that his uninformed comments were premature and irresponsible, regardless of the outcome of the OIS investigation. But that is unlikely!

– Jim McNeff


Author information

Jim McNeff

Jim McNeff is the managing editor of Law Officer and founder of Badge 145, a ministry geared toward helping police officers and their families.

Jim worked in military and civilian law enforcement for thirty-one years. While in the USAF he flew as a crewmember aboard the National Emergency Airborne Command Post—a presidential support detail. Following his military service, he served for twenty-eight years with the Fountain Valley Police Department in Orange County, California where he retired as a lieutenant. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Southwest University and graduated from the prestigious Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute as well as the IACP course, Leadership in Police Organizations.

In addition to being a Medal of Valor recipient, Jim has authored three books: The Spirit behind Badge 145Justice Revealed, and Jurisdiction.

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