Jacob Blake, the unarmed Black man shot in the back seven times by Kenosha, Wisconsin, police remains in the hospital in stable condition, but paralyzed. Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake, Wisconsin, and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha were killed Tuesday night when they were protesting that shooting. Initial reports say that Huber was running at the shooter to try to stop him, with a skateboard as a shield. Another man, Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, of West Allis, Wisconsin, was shot in the arm but is expected to survive.
The killer, who must be labeled still as "suspected," is a 17-year-old armed terrorist and wannabe cop with an online and real-life history of extremism. BuzzFeed News found Kyle Rittenhouse front and center in a picture of a Trump rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 30. Literally front and center, in the front row. His presence there was confirmed by a TikTok video he posted from the event. His bio on TikTok included “BLUE LIVES MATTER” and “Trump 2020.” The social media accounts for Rittenhouse BuzzFeed found "show a teenager obsessed with law enforcement who also identified as a strong supporter of President Donald Trump and 'Blue Lives Matter,' a pro–law enforcement movement that evolved in response to Black Lives Matter." He even "served" as a member of the Lindenhurst-Grayslake-Hainesville Police Department's Public Safety Cadet Program where he received firearms training. He was apparently among a group of armed vigilantes who approached Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth asking to be "deputized" to respond to the protests.
The New York Times reported on footage it has reviewed from various sources on the events of the night. Before the first shooting Rittenhouse was interviewed in a video livestream at an auto dealership where vehicles had been burned the day before. He's with several other armed men who've apparently deemed themselves security, and identifies himself as "Kyle" in the video. He also talked with Richie McGinniss, a video editor at far-right The Daily Caller, and said it was "his job" to guard the site.
The Times' review of the videos shows that about 15 minutes before the first shooting, police drive by the armed men at the dealership and chat with them, giving them water in appreciation. Rittenhouse leaves the area several minutes later, and is not allowed back. Then several minutes later, he's seen running into the parking lot of another dealership a few blocks away, being pursued by a group of protesters. There's a gun fired into the air, Rittenhouse turns toward the sound and fires four times into the group of people trying to stop him. One man appears to be shot in the head. Rittenhouse then seems to make a phone call before fleeing the scene, being chased by several people yelling "That's the shooter!"
Rittenhouse trips and falls as he's running and three people rush toward him, apparently again trying to keep him from shooting anyone else. He fires four more shots and hits one of the people in the chest. There's at least 16 other shots fired in the area during this part of the video the Times reviewed, but Rittenhouse's shots are clear. Then the unbelievable part: "Mr. Rittenhouse walks with his hands up toward the police vehicles. Bystanders call out to the officers that he had just shot people." And the police "drive by him without stopping." He goes home, back to Antioch, Illinois, about 30 miles away. That's where he's arrested on Wednesday.
Back in Kenosha, the Justice Department is opening an investigation into the police shooting of Jacob Blake, with the FBI conducting a civil-rights inquiry. "Civil rights advocates, and even some lawyers inside the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, doubt the department will announce a decision or take action in either case before the presidential election," the Times reports, "especially given that Mr. Trump has built his re-election campaign in part around his staunch support for law enforcement officers." That's a safe bet.
Helping matters not at all, Trump said Wednesday that he plans to send federal law enforcement into Kenosha to respond to protests. A DOJ spokeswoman told the times that the agency is deploying more than 200 personnel and would "continue to surge Kenosha with federal resources as needed and necessary." Portland can attest to how well that will turn out. Given everything we've seen thus far from Trump, he's going to use his storm-troopers to try to incite more violence and mayhem in Kenosha and wherever else he choses between now and November. That's his distraction from the growing coronavirus death toll.