Rev. Jesse Jackson and Kenosha NAACP held a press conference on Aug. 27 in Kenosha to address the shooting of Jacob Blake.
“I want to make this point clear, there’s a pattern of killing Black people,” Jackson said.
Thursday marked the fourth anniversary of Colin Kaepernick’s protest against racial injustice. Bishop Tavis Grant, national field director of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, accompanied Jackson Sr. as he spoke alongside state and local NAACP officers Derrick Johnson, Wendell Harris, and Anthony Davis; Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian; Sen. Robert Wirch (D-Somers); Sen. Lena Taylor (D- Milwaukee); representatives from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and others. community leaders at Froedtert Hospital in Kenosha.
“The Kenosha community is grieving as a result of this tragic incident but also we grieve for what seems to be the loss of civility in Kenosha,” Harris said.
He also said Blake being gunned down has turned him into a spectacle. Harris emphasized everyone, regardless of who calls the police, should be entitled to dignity and respect. He said police officers should be held to a higher standard and face accountability for their actions.
“I really hope that the three men who shot and killed Jacob will be in jail until he can walk,” Jackson said.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) released new details in the officer-involved shooting of Jacob Blake, including the names of the other officers at the scene. Kenosha Police Officers Vincent Arenas and Brittany Meronek were both at the scene during the time of the incident. The department also said there were two Taser attempts by two different officers before Officer Rusten Sheskey fired seven times.
At the press conference, Jackson played an audio recording of Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth from January 2018 news conference following the arrests of five people for shoplifting at a Tommy Hilfiger outlet store in Pleasant Prairie. At least four of the suspects were Black. In the recording, Beth said society has come to a threshold where “some people aren’t worth saving” and warehouses should be built to lock them in for the rest of their lives.
“He’s using this dog and whistle, ‘these people.’ We are not ‘these people’ and Black lives matter,” Grant said.
He and Jackson also raised questions about police allowing 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse to leave the state on Tuesday night after shooting three people during unrest in the city. Now in custody, Rittenhouse faces several charges for suspected homicide after two people have died, another injured.