The Thin Blue Line Between Violent Pro-Trump Militias and Police - 2020-08-28
The videos that preceded Anthony Huber's killing on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, are jarring. Among the most chilling is one from the parking lot of an auto repair shop. Several shots ring out. In the distance, you see the gunman in jeans and a green T-shirt. A man rushes up behind him. The gunman turns. More shots ring out and the man collapses to the ground. The gunman circles a parked car, then comes back to the man laid out on the pavement. He looks down at him and pulls out his cellphone. "I just killed somebody," the shooter says, before jogging off. The man on the ground twitches and stares up at the sky, gasping deeply as bystanders work desperately to put pressure on his wound. Some cry, others yell for someone to call the police.
In a second video, the gunman can be seen jogging down the center of a two-way street as bystanders yell that he just shot someone. He falls to the ground. A handful of men run toward him; Huber is one of them. The 26-year-old swings his skateboard at the shooter and reaches for his rifle. The shooter pulls the trigger. Huber staggers back, then collapses in the street. A second man, appearing to hold a handgun, takes a bullet in the arm. The gunman rises to his feet and jogs, then walks, toward a column of approaching emergency vehicles. Again, bystanders yell that he just shot people. The gunman, with his hands in the air, is seemingly ordered out of the way and the police move on. In a third video, shot before the killings took place, the same young gunman is seen interacting with law enforcement in an armored vehicle, accepting a bottle of water as thanks for the efforts he and others in a group of armed vigilantes were putting in. An officer in the vehicle says over a loudspeaker: "We appreciate you guys. We really do."
Hours after the videos were taken, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, the suspected shooter, was arrested on charges of first-degree intentional homicide. By that point, he was miles away, in Antioch, Illinois, despite the fact that he had approached police and several bystanders identified him as the gunman whose shots law enforcement were ostensibly responding to. Rittenhouse is accused of killing Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, a 36-year-old father who leaves behind a fiancée and young daughter, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, a volunteer street medic. The killings came on the third night of protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man who was left paralyzed after being shot in the back in front of his children. Like other moments around the country, the response to the police violence has featured large-scale peaceful demonstrations, vandalism, and property damage. Blake remains hospitalized and, according to his father, has been shackled to his bed despite being unable to move.