Authorities in Kenosha, Wis., on Friday said about 50 people have been arrested in connection to protests following the shooting of Jacob Blake and that a curfew would remain in effect through the weekend.
The suspects were arrested on a variety of alleged offenses including possession of weapons, drugs, illegal fireworks, and in one case, a flamethrower, Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis told reporters during a news conference.
The 7 p.m. curfew imposed earlier this week as demonstrations turned violent will remain in effect through Sunday.
Wednesday and Thursday nights were much calmer than previous evenings that saw clashes between protesters and authorities. Two people were shot dead and another wounded Tuesday by a suspected gunman, who has been arrested and charged.
“Hopefully, that means that we’re moving to a safer place altogether and we can return to normalcy,” Miskinis said.
Wisconsin National Guard Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp said more than 1,000 guardsmen were deployed to the area, with more expected to arrive Friday from Arizona, Alabama and Michigan.
Officials pushed back on claims that authorities let Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged in the two shooting deaths, slip away from the scene late Tuesday. Rittenhouse was arrested Wednesday in nearby Antioch, Ill., and is being held in police custody pending extradition to Wisconsin.
Miskinis said the context of what happened around the shooting was chaotic, and that it wasn’t uncommon at the time to see armed people on streets.
“There were a lot of people in the area. A lot of people with weapons and unfortunately, a lot of gunfire,” he said. “There was nothing to suggest that this person was involved in criminal behavior.
In response to calls from the American Civil Liberties Union and its Wisconsin chapter for the resignation of Miskinis and Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth, Mayor John Antaramian said he has no plans to demand they step down.
“I think that when you look at what has occurred over the last week and all the activities that are going on, everyone is doing the best they can with the situation they have,” he said.