The head of the Kenosha Police Department defended his officers after they let the 17-year-old teenager who reportedly killed two people walk right past them.
The chief, Daniel Miskinis, said during a Friday press conference that his officers did not see Kyle Rittenhouse (a militia member from Illinois who traveled to Wisconsin to defend a local store from destruction) “as a suspect,” even though video shows him walking up to police vehicles with his arms held in the air and an AR-15–style rifle slung around his neck shortly after he apparently shot three people Tuesday night.
“Clearly, they’re not seeing him as a suspect or a threat of any kind,” Miskinis said, according to Up North News. “Nothing suggested this person or anybody else who was armed around them was the person.”
“Two weeks ago, my answer might have been different,” he added. “But right now, the totality of circumstances, nothing suggested this person or anybody else who was armed around them was the person.”
Chris Ott, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, has called for Miskinis and Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth to resign amid the shooting of Jacob Blake (a black 29-year-old father who was shot several times Sunday — allegedly by Officer Rusten Sheskey, who has been placed on administrative leave), the investigation, and the subsequent violence and protests that have taken place since the shooting.
Earlier in the week, Miskinis appeared to show little sympathy for the victims of the shooting by noting that they were still out past the city’s 8 p.m. curfew.
“Persons who were out after the curfew became engaged in some type of disturbance, and persons were shot,” Miskinis said. “Everybody involved was out after the curfew.”
Rittenhouse was charged with first-degree reckless homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, first-degree intentional homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and possession of a dangerous weapon on Thursday. He was taken into custody a day earlier in Antioch, Illinois, where he lives.
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