About 1,000 people marched in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Saturday, led by family members of a Black man shot by police, to demand an end to police violence in the Midwestern U.S. city.
President Donald Trump will visit the city Tuesday to meet law enforcement officials and assess damage, a White House official told reporters Saturday.
Jacob Blake Sr., whose son was left paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by a white police officer last week, urged protesters to remain peaceful and avoid violence. "Good people of this city understand. If we tear it up, we have nothing," he said. "Stop it. Show 'em for one night we don't have to tear up nothing."
Blake’s family and activists organized the rally as National Guard units stood by with orders to prevent more of the unrest that erupted in Kenosha earlier in the week in response to the shooting.
"We are heartbroken and enraged, but we are steadfast in our demand for justice," Tanya Mclean, a Blake family friend who helped organize the event, said in a statement. She said Blake's shooting is not an isolated incident.
Jacob Black, 29, was shot in the back seven times August 23 in front of witnesses, including Blake’s young children, by Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey, a report by the Wisconsin Department of Justice found. The shooting turned the predominately white city of 100,000 into the latest hot spot in a summer of nationwide protests against charges of police brutality and systemic racism.
Trump began tweeting Wednesday about violent protests in the city, saying, “We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets.” He told Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers he would send federal law enforcement and National Guard troops to the city.
Early Saturday, after several nights of relative calm in Kenosha with National Guardsmen on the streets, Trump tweeted, “That’s the way it works.”
Governor Evers had also deployed more Wisconsin National Guard troops earlier in the week to help local law enforcement agencies restore and maintain order.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said police confronted Blake after being called to the home of a woman who said her "boyfriend was present" without permission. Sheskey and two other Kenosha officers tried to arrest the younger Blake, Kaul said, including using a Taser, which failed.
The report said Blake told officers he had a knife. As Blake leaned into his vehicle, Sheskey shot Blake seven times. The report said a knife was later found on the driver side floorboard of the vehicle. The report does not say if Sheskey thought Blake was reaching for the knife.
On Friday, the Kenosha police union defended the officers. They said Blake had a knife and fought with officers even as two efforts to stun him with a Taser were unsuccessful.
Blake's family and his attorneys have said Blake did not provoke or threaten the police.
The police officers involved in the encounter with Blake are on administrative leave, pending an investigation by the Wisconsin Justice Department, officials said.
Arson, vandalism and other acts of violence devastated a largely minority neighborhood of the city Monday night, one day before a teenager, who was seen on video roaming the streets with an assault rifle, fatally shot two demonstrators and wounded a third.
Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, surrendered to police Wednesday close to his home in the state of Illinois near the Wisconsin border. One video taken by protesters appears to show him trying to surrender in Kenosha minutes after the shootings, only to be told to get off the streets as police vehicles passed him by.
Rittenhouse has been charged with six criminal counts, including first-degree intentional homicide and unlawful possession of a firearm by a minor. One of his lawyers, Lin Wood, tweeted that Rittenhouse shot the demonstrators in self-defense.