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Second Night of Riots in Kenosha Destroy Black Business District

Riots in Kenosha, WI continued for a second night, prompting Wisconsin governor Tony Evers to declare a state of emergency Reuters reported.  The city is preparing for another round of violence Tuesday night.

Two car dealerships, Car Source and Budget Motors, were targeted by rioters and looters during the second consecutive night of violence following the shooting of Jacob Black, 29, a black man by police.  Car Source had been attacked the previous night as well and its owners suffered $500,000 in property damage and between $900,000 and $1 million in inventor damage on the first night alone, according to Yahoo Money.  Car source had around 140 cars available for sale prior to the rioting.  The dealership also displayed a prominent “Black Lives Matter” sign on its premises.  

“We’ve served a lot of people, been good to people, and this is the thanks you get, so it’s sad,” said the owner of Dale’s Jewelry, another local business that suffered close to half a million dollars in damages due to the rioting. “That is not protesting … All this is doing is bringing us to the brink of a Civil War.”  The rioting occurred in Kenosha’s black business district.

Clyde McLemore, the president of a nearby Black Lives Matter chapter showed no sympathy for the business owners victimized by the riots.  “I don’t condone burning of buildings or looting, but I understand it. Them places got insurance, they’ll be back up,” he said.  Protestor Porche Bennett of Kenosha saw things a bit differently.  She noted that the damage was done to black businesses, but the rioters she saw setting fires were all white.  “It’s people from out of town doing this. We’ve been shopping there since we were kids, and they set it on fire,” Bennett, 31, said. 

Local police had the support of around 100 National Guard troops in their efforts to disperse the riot and contain the damage.  Law enforcement officers used tear gas, rubber bullets, and smoke bombs to restore order.  The federal presence was welcomed by Kenosha Board of Supervisors member Zach Rodriguez.  “Essentially, our city was burned to the ground, building by building,” he said.  “Enough is enough.” He indicated that the board would hold an immediate emergence meeting to ask for more federal help as he felt the governor was not doing enough to quell the riots and protect Kenosha residents and their property.

The shooting of Blake was the ostensible motivation for the riots.  Blake was shot numerous times by police responding to a call about a domestic dispute.  The incident was captured on cellphone video by Rayshean White, 22, on Sunday.  Officers can be heard on the video yelling “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” just prior to shots being fired.  

Blake remains in the hospital in serious condition, while all three police officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave pending a further investigation into the matter. 

Blake was charged on July 6 with third-degree sexual assault, trespassing, and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse, and an arrest warrant was issued for him the next day.

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