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Kenosha mayor ends state of emergency, daily curfew

The curfew had been in effect since the day Jacob Blake was shot Aug. 23 by police.

Officers with the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department approach in an armored vehicle as protesters gather at Civic Center Park on the fourth day of civil unrest after police shot Jacob Blake, Wednesday evening, Aug. 26, 2020.
Officers with the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department approach in an armored vehicle as protesters gather at Civic Center Park on the fourth day of civil unrest after police shot Jacob Blake, Wednesday evening, Aug. 26, 2020.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

The City of Kenosha ended of its state of emergency curfew Wednesday, a week and a half after civil unrest erupted in response to police shooting a Black man in the back seven times.

The end of the curfew — in effect since the day Jacob Blake was shot Aug. 23 — was announced by Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian. The announcement comes a day after President Donald Trump visited the southern Wisconsin city, and a day ahead of presidential candidate Joe Biden’s planned visit on Thursday.

“After consulting with local law enforcement agencies, I have decided the curfew is no longer needed,” Antaramian said in an emailed statement. “The last several nights have been relatively peaceful in the community, and in the judgment of law enforcement, it is appropriate to remove the curfew.

“However, criminal activity will not be tolerated and arrests will be made if needed,” Antaramian said. “I am hopeful there will be no need to reinstate the curfew in the near future.”

Protests erupted hours after the shooting of 29-year-old Blake, who was left paralyzed from the waist down. Peaceful protests during the day were followed by massive property damage that left cars and buildings burned.

The demonstrations culminated in the fatal shooting of two men Aug. 25, allegedly at the hands of Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch, a 17-year-old charged in their murders. Rittenhouse and other armed individuals apparently positioned themselves on the streets of Kenosha, saying they wanted to protect against the sort of looting and riots that occurred earlier that week.