The perpetrator of the horrifying killings at last night’s Kenosha, Wisconsin protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake has been charged with murder and is in the custody, after being allowed to walk the night of the shooting. But curiously enough, the police didn’t show much interest in him last night, allowing him to walk up and then past them as they were responding to the gunshots that he had fired.
Rittenhouse was well known to the Kenosha cops, having interacted with them several times earlier that night. The police gave them water and thanked the militiamen Rittenhouse was with for defending private property and told them that they “appreciated them.”
The armed vigilantes they considered “helpful” while the protesters were treated like their enemies.
LOOK AT THIS CLIP! LOOK! THEY ARE WORKING ALONGSIDE THE POLICE pic.twitter.com/BPL5clfjrc
— A Friendly Dad (@AFriendlyDad) August 26, 2020
Facebook was used to organize the militiamen and even worked as a direct line of communication and coordination between the armed militiamen and the police.
THREAD: Facebook has once again found itself at the center of a radicalized movement that ended in murder.
From white supremacist to boogaloo to militia groups, Facebook has served as a primary organizing mechanism, and Kenosha, Wisconsin, was no different. pic.twitter.com/6UgKGsiPQU
— Tech Transparency Project (@TTP_updates) August 26, 2020
As if all of this coordination wasn’t obvious enough already, the Kenosha Police Chief responded to the killings by blaming the protestors for being out after curfew.
Instead of describing what had actually happened — that this man murdered two people at a protest while carrying out a police-approved mission to defend private property — Chief Miskinis claimed that the killer had “used a firearm to resolve conflict.”
Kenosha Police Chief Miskinis responds to the murder of two protestors by saying it wouldn't have happened if people weren't out after curfew: "I'm not gonna make a great deal of it, BUT …" pic.twitter.com/GBRo8I5Zka
— The Recount (@therecount) August 26, 2020
It is so telling that the police chief can’t even bring himself to accurately describe what happens — that it is unfathomable to him that people would not obey a curfew set by the very people opening fire on innocents. He might as well have come out and said that he didn’t think Rittenhouse did anything wrong for the absurd lengths he went to avoid to avoid calling the killings a crime.
For context, here is Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth saying that repeat offenders should be locked in “warehouses” with “no recreational time,” in a deranged rant from two years ago that is loaded with racist dog whistles:
When a white supremacist terrorist murdered Heather Heyer at the hate rally in Charlottesville, the police stood back and did nothing but protect the racist marchers from the counter-protestors. Time and time again, we have seen police officers take the side of right-wing militiamen and white supremacist groups and instead unload heinous violence upon peaceful protestors who represent an existential threat to the order of white supremacy that the police exist to uphold.
It should be of no surprise to anyone who hasn’t had their mind completely warped by decades of watching network copaganda shows that the increasingly fascistic police forces of America find common cause with white supremacists and right-wing extremists because police forces are full of white supremacists and extremists themselves. Fourteen years ago, the FBI warned that white supremacists were infiltrating America’s police forces — and it’s becoming terrifyingly obvious that almost nothing was done to rectify that.
Chief Miskinis’ response to the last night’s murders is wildly inappropriate and should lead to his immediate suspension.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.