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U.S. Marshals in unmarked vehicles assist Kenosha police in arrests

A man assisting Kenosha police officers with an arrest Thursday night identified himself as a member of the U.S. Marshals Service. He then left the scene in an unmarked pickup with its truck bed covered.

Officers with the U.S. Marshals Service Department keep watch as Kenosha police officers take a man into custody for violating the city’s 7 p.m. curfew on the fifth night of unrest after police shot Jacob Blake, Thursday night, Aug. 27, 2020.
Officers with the U.S. Marshals Service Department keep watch as Kenosha police officers take a man into custody for violating the city’s 7 p.m. curfew on the fifth night of unrest after police shot Jacob Blake, Thursday night, Aug. 27, 2020.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Federal law enforcement was assisting Kenosha police Thursday night as they enforced a citywide curfew imposed in the wake of the unrest that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

About 9:20 p.m., a man helping officers take at least one person into custody identified himself as a member of the U.S. Marshals Service. He then left the scene in an unmarked, silver Ford F-150 with its truck bed covered.

About an hour later, two marshals were seen assisting cops with another curfew arrest on Sheridan Road near 56th Street. They were riding in an unmarked, black Chevrolet Tahoe.

The local officers were also in unmarked vehicles, though a squad car eventually pulled up to transport the elderly man who was being taken into custody.

The U.S. Marshals Service didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In July, officers from the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and U.S. Customs and Border Protections Border Patrol Tactical Unit were deployed to Portland to guard federal property amid rioting. NPR reported that federal officers in Portland were using unmarked vehicles to take demonstrators in custody.

After two protesters were shot to death Tuesday and another person wounded, President Trump announced on Twitter the following afternoon that federal law enforcement was being sent to Kenosha.

“We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets,” Trump tweeted. “My team just got off the phone with Governor Evers who agreed to accept federal assistance (Portland should do the same!)”

The arrest in Kenosha came less than an hour after five buses pulled up to a fenced off area downtown that contains a courthouse and other municipal buildings. Hundreds of Wisconsin State Patrol officers and what appeared to be National Guardsmen then filed off the buses.

Officers with the U.S. Marshals Service Department keep watch as Kenosha police officers take a man into custody for violating the city’s 7 p.m. curfew on the fifth night of unrest after police shot Jacob Blake, Thursday night, Aug. 27, 2020.
Officers with the U.S. Marshals Service Department keep watch as Kenosha police officers take a man into custody for violating the city’s 7 p.m. curfew on the fifth night of unrest after police shot Jacob Blake, Thursday night, Aug. 27, 2020.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Meanwhile, a few dozen protesters congregated peacefully in the nearby Civic Center Park. They spent much of the night mulling around, with some handing out food and medical supplies as others occasionally sparked chants decrying the police and boosting the Black Lives Matter movement.

A few blocks away, a smaller group awaited the release of protesters who had been arrested a night earlier for curfew violations.

Terry Gordon, 41, of Kenosha, said he was charging his phone using a plug outside a municipal building when he was approached by officers threatening to arrest him for a curfew violation. After detaining him in zip ties, he was ultimately let loose.

Gordon said the officers didn’t look familiar and were riding in an unmarked silver vehicle, which he thought was an SUV.

“They weren’t Kenosha [police],” he said. “I know Kenosha police.”

“They ain’t playing, though.”