Aug 27, 2020
Kenosha Officials Press Conference Transcript August 27: Police Shooting of Jacob Blake Update
Kenosha officials held a press conference on August 27 to provide an update on the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Read the transcript of their briefing with all the updates here.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
We’ll start with Mayor Antaramian.
Mayor Antaramian: (00:02)
Good afternoon everyone. I am going to be talking a little bit about a couple of the issues that I think are important for the community and for everyone else to understand. Number one, the most important aspect of what is going on is the safety of all people, safety in the city of Kenosha and making sure that the residents understand that the law enforcement, the National Guard, the Sheriff’s department, all of them they’re here to be protective and to help protect the community and to also keep protesters who are peaceful protesters safe. So that I think is one of the main messages that I want to make sure everyone gets today. But once we get past the safety issue, the next question comes is unity. And though we’re not going to go into a lot of detail today about how we’re going to do all these things, unity becomes one of the main aspects of what has to happen in this community.
Mayor Antaramian: (01:09)
And that unity is only going to happen if all of us work together. So the city has been working along with other entities of putting together a number of committees that are going to be working on systemic racism and dealing with how we’re going to improve our community and give everyone a voice. In fact, Pastor Peoples is the person I ever requested to be put in charge of making that happen. The last issue that I wish to bring up is dealing with the rebuilding of the community. And rebuilding is more than just fixing buildings. It’s one of the things that I thought that was very impressive and I’m very proud of our community. And that is that when and after the damage had been done, people came out, neighbors came out to help neighbors.
Mayor Antaramian: (02:01)
All neighbors came out to help neighbors. The downtown had numerous people in the downtown cleaning up the streets, fixing buildings, doing everything they could to help their neighbor. And that is what this community really is about. And that is what we need to make sure that people see within our community and what is happening. But rebuilding also means more than that. It’s a call to action. It’s a call to make sure that we’re there to be helpful. We have asked and have asked the governor for support financially, for the businesses. And we are in conversations with that. And we’re going to make the same request to the federal government. So with that, I will turn it over to the county exec.
County Exec: (02:48)
Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Thank you to the people at Kenosha County and to the peaceful protesters and especially those who followed the curfew and all the people who followed the curfew. It made law enforcement’s job a lot easier. I want to recognize the continued outpouring of support for businesses many of which are small and family owned in downtown, uptown, and really across Kenosha County. Whether showing up in person or through donations to rebuild, it’s been a heartwarming experience. This is a true representation of Kenosha County. I want to also reconfirm our commitment to all of us here to address the core issues that have brought us to this point in time.
County Exec: (03:36)
We’re still in the thick of the many challenges, but there’ll be a coming together around a table in coming days. I talked to Pastor Peoples also, and we are working together, the city and the county and the community. I’ve had over 50 emails just recently by people who want to participate in that and move forward. My message to the world, which we know is watching, is that Kenosha County is made up of good and caring people. I’m confident that what we saw Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night, isn’t who we really are. I call on our community to seek change with peace. And I thank them again for how they adhered to the curfew to keep our community safe during this time. Thank you.
Speaker 4: (04:28)
I’m going to kind of mirror what the mayor and the county exec already said. Since Wednesday, the entire atmosphere of Kenosha has changed dramatically as far as the people who live here. And I think the crowds last night were small. There was a few hundred people and they walked peacefully through Kenosha and they did exactly what they wanted to do as far as the protest to make people know their concerns, but they did it without violence. And I think the people that were here last night were Kenosha’s people. We didn’t see streams of cars coming in from out of Kenosha County. A huge part of me thinks that a lot of our issues start when different people with different agendas come here to Kenosha. Kenosha’s people are loving, peaceful, and good with change. And these people did exactly what they needed to do in a peaceful way.
Speaker 4: (05:34)
The people that did not want to partake in what was happening last night, which again was very small. They stayed home. We made a 7:00 o’clock curfew. The people of Kenosha, thank you. Thanks for adhering to the 7:00 o’clock curfew and clearing the streets. So you, your families, your property, were all safe and it allowed us to do our jobs. Since Sunday when this whole thing started the personnel, the resources, the equipment from our county, from the counties around us, we have some departments in the state of Wisconsin that sent us, their smaller departments, that sent us a third of all their deputies. We have small police departments that sent us one of their officers, and that’s probably a third of all their officers they have. They want to come and help keep Kenosha safe. They want to come and help the people here in Kenosha and they want to help protect the protesters too.
Speaker 4: (06:46)
The state has been fantastic as far as sending resources from the very first minute that we asked them. They have sent everything that we’ve asked for and they’ve been outstanding. The federal government notified us yesterday that they were… they’ve been here truthfully from the first day too. We’ve had people from Marshalls, FBI, ATF. We’ve had them from the very first day too. The feds have been here from the first day helping with the exact same mission that everyone else is, to help protect the people of Kenosha and protect everyone who’s here. We have got generous people and businesses here in Kenosha. Our staff, the numbers continue to grow and we need to feed them. The businesses, the people are coming with bags from McDonald’s. They’re coming with cold meat. They’re coming with platters. They’re coming with all kinds of nourishment that our staff needs. And we’re getting lots of things.
Speaker 4: (07:58)
We get some people that don’t like us too. Got it. But the overall majority of people that are coming, that we’re hearing from, tell us thank you for what we’re doing, what we’re trying to do in our mission. I think the combined efforts of everyone sitting up here, everyone that’s trying to get a little sleep right now and everybody who’s out there at nighttime has been paying dividends. Last night it was very peaceful. Tuesday night, not quite so peaceful, but it wasn’t too bad. Monday night was our big night. Hopefully we’re over that hump of what we have to face. We know that there are still people out there, instigators, that are trying to cause trouble and fire things up. Got it. We’d had those before. Everyday life, we have instigators of trouble and we’re going to do our best to deal with that too. But overall, I’m very pleased with the last 24 hours here in Kenosha, the response from every part of government, the response of the people of Kenosha and the cooperation with everyone.
Speaker 5: (09:19)
Much of what I have to say has already been said, so I’m not going to be redundant with that. I can tell you from the law enforcement standpoint, the situation is much calmer. Persons are lawfully protesting, and that continues late into the night, early into the morning with persons making their views, making their concerns known. That the voice of those people is not falling upon deaf ears. We are hearing what is being said. And the mayor has spoke to his commitment involving myself [inaudible 00:09:55] change where that’s possible. Many people were out expressing their views yesterday. Those in support of every cause, different sizes of issues, excuse me, different sides of issues, whether they were pro-protesters, anti-protestors, anti-police, pro-police, many people were out speaking their mind. And that is one of the things that’s part of America, you have the right to do that.
Speaker 5: (10:21)
So much of what was talked about here is the number of resources being deployed and used. Those resources are being deployed to keep people safe, whether you’re a resident of Kenosha or somebody traveling here to express different views. So we are doing our best to keep it a safe environment. And we thank those, yesterday, who peacefully protested and obeyed the curfew. Unfortunately, not everybody did so. But the sheriff spoke that it was a less tumultuous night, and I would agree. Unfortunately, there were still weapons charges. There were still persons arrested on warrants and I believe there were some other cases as well. I won’t go into the details of those at this time. I know that we will be scheduling another conference soon. I thank those who peacefully protested and obeyed the curfew. Not losing their voice, their desire for change through the violence which has gleaned this [inaudible 00:11:19].
Speaker 5: (11:20)
Kenosha was once known for American Motors and the lakefront. We do not wish to be known for violence of any kind. We continue to investigate the previous looting and arson cases that took place on Sunday night and early into the morning. And we hope to bring those involved to justice through the court system. I have no additional information to share regarding the shooting deaths of those persons from the night before, but rest assured, those investigations continue and we will build a strong case based upon the facts. We are working hard to keep this citizens of Kenosha safe and to investigate and stop lawless behavior. And that’s only by a small group. By no mean do I or anybody up here think that 1500 people intend violence. Most of those people want change, they want accountability. And those are things I think we all agree upon. So regardless of being part of the protest or not, we encourage everybody to obey the law and help keep us, the community, safe so we can concentrate our efforts instead of controlling violence, to building harmony and peace for all. Thank you.
Maj. Gen. Knapp: (12:36)
Good afternoon. I’m Major General Knapp, the adjutant general for the Wisconsin National Guard. First, I want you to know that I grew up here in Wisconsin. It’s where I make my home and where I’m raising my kids. And what’s happening in this community goes beyond city and county borders. It affects us all as Wisconsinites and Americans. And with that, I’m here to give you an update on the role of the National Guard as we continue to serve in a supporting role to local law enforcement. We’re here to help preserve public safety, but we’re also here to ensure individuals rights to exercise their first amendment rights to demonstrate. Yesterday, I spoke about the sacrifices of the National Guard service members, leaving their families and homes to come here to support Kenosha. Today, I want to make sure and reemphasize that there are also other people from all over the state, law enforcement, who’ve done the same thing.
Maj. Gen. Knapp: (13:35)
They’ve picked up what they were doing, left their jobs, left their families, and they rallied here behind this mission to bring a peaceful conclusion to this event. So I think that’s really important. I think we need to keep that in mind and keep them in mind as well. Going forward in terms of National Guard presence, we mentioned yesterday that we were going to be bringing in guard members from other states. So we’ve solidified some of those details. And I can tell you that we have commitments from three other states. Arizona, Alabama, and Michigan will be sending some of their National Guard members here to assist in this effort. And they will be here and hopefully be assisting us as early as tomorrow night in some cases. For clarification in that, I want to also say that those National Guard members much like the Wisconsin National Guard, those are not federalized troops. They’re here on state active duty. They’re here through a mutual aid agreement or a compact between the states and specifically the governors.
Maj. Gen. Knapp: (14:49)
And they will be under my command as the adjutant general, ultimately under the command of the commander in chief for the state, Governor Evers. Again, I’d like to emphasize that our mission here is to protect life safety here in the community and bring back peace. We’re also very supportive of all of those that want to peacefully demonstrate, and we urge continued peaceful demonstration. But we also understand that there are people that are coming here into the area with the intent to destroy property and to ruin lives. And those are the people that we need to all work together to keep them out of this community and keep them from doing the harm that they’re intending. So in closing, I’d just like to reemphasize how important it is for us all to be together in our efforts. I know that we all appear on the stage here together, and I hope all of you out there as well are together in our efforts to bring a peaceful conclusion to this tragic event as we go forward here in Kenosha. Thank you.
Speaker 1: (16:04)
Thank you very much for your patience.
Speaker 7: (16:06)
[inaudible 00:16:06] any explanation [crosstalk 00:16:10].
Speaker 8: (16:11)
And explanation of that?
Speaker 9: (16:14)
Are you going to answer these questions at any point soon?
Speaker 10: (16:17)
Will you take questions tomorrow?