633 W WISCONSIN AVE., SUITE 1410
MILWAUKEE, WI 53203
PHONE (414) 273-1040 x 12
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Atty. Ramon Valdez, email@example.com, 414-643-7400
NLG Condemns Biased and Unprofessional Policing by Kenosha Police and Sheriff’s Departments
The National Lawyers Guild, Milwaukee Chapter, condemns the unprofessional actions of Kenosha law enforcement in the strongest possible terms. Their selective policing of recent demonstrations according to an obvious racial and political double standard – bringing extreme force to bear against majority Black demonstrators, while tolerating and even encouraging the law-breaking of white counter-protestors – constitutes a severe dereliction of duty. The result of Kenosha law enforcement’s dereliction of duty and lack of professionalism has been murder and mayhem. Kenosha County residents Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber lost their lives. Gaige Grosskreutz, a young paramedic from West Allis, lost the use of his arm.
Ample evidence has emerged in video footage, eyewitness reports and the news media that the Kenosha Police Department and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department practiced selective, dishonorable, and dangerous policing during the demonstrations occurring from August 23 to September 2 to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in the back seven times. Kenosha law enforcement used excessive force against Black, brown, white, and Indigenous protestors during the demonstrations, including tear gas and rubber bullets. They issued at least 94 citations to individuals for violating what has been revealed as an illegal curfew.
In contrast, Kenosha law enforcement was seen passing out water and giving verbal support to white vigilantes, including those organized by the so-called “Kenosha Guard.” In doing, so Kenosha law enforcement legitimized the felonious acts of these armed vigilantes, who, in violation of Wisconsin law, assumed “to act in an official capacity or to perform an official function, knowing that he or she is not the public officer…that he or she assumes to be.” (Wis. Stat. 946.69 (2) a ). Not one white counter-protestor was charged or arrested for violating the alleged curfew. Not one was charged with using their weapons in a threatening fashion, nor for wielding these weapons within 1000 feet of school grounds, as they did several times during their actions. Kenosha law enforcement’s double standard of aggressive policing of majority Black protestors to the point of civil rights violations, while tacitly endorsing disorganized white gangs with firearms is both dangerous and disturbing.
In their most horrific dereliction of duty, Kenosha law enforcement allowed white, 17 year-old Kyle Rittenhouse to walk past them after he had just murdered two people and wounded a third. Even with his hands in the air, holding the murder weapon, and being verbally identified as the shooter, Rittenhouse was neither detained nor questioned. Throughout the entire evening of August 25, Kenosha law enforcement bolstered Rittenhouse’s delusion that he was a “citizen soldier” in league with police. The National Lawyers Guild calls for the Kenosha Police Department and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department to account for that culpability.
To the world, it is clear that the Kenosha law enforcement has become politicized. It has punished demonstrators for protesting the treatment of civilians at the hands of the police, while allowing white law breaking vigilantes with weapons the opportunity to roam with apparent encouragement during the aforementioned curfew. It has selectively policed violations of laws and ordinances to only enforce them against Black people and those protesting the unjust treatment of Black people. And in an era where the Trump Administration, for its political gain, seeks to turn law enforcement into a spectacle to appeal to white nationalist sentiments, KPD and KSD took their place upon that stage. This politicizing of the police rekindles the corrupt precedent of leveraging police for the gain of politicians associated with the Tammany Hall era of pre-professional policing.
The NLG calls for Kenosha Law enforcement to immediately cease its double standard of policing along racial and political lines. The NLG also calls for an independent investigation by the Wisconsin and U.S. Departments of Justice of the apparently biased policing conducted by the Kenosha Police Department and the Kenosha Sheriff Department on August 25 that resulted in two homicides and the wounding of at least one additional person.