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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
The latest on the Kenosha vigilante shooting. During the continuing unrest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a teenager with an AR-15 shot three people, two fatally, late Tuesday, then disappeared into the night despite the heavy law enforcement presence. Yesterday, authorities arrested a suspect in the case: a 17-year-old from Lake County, Illinois, who was apprehended just across the state line. Here are some of the other key developments:
- Before the shooting, the suspected shooter told a Daily Caller reporter that he came to the city to protect people and local businesses. Other videos showed him hanging out with older armed men throughout the night.
- The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that armed men patrolling the streets Tuesday night included so-called boogaloo boys and members of the Kenosha Guard, a self-described militia. No reporting has identified the teenager as formally affiliated with any armed groups.
- After the shooting, The Verge reported that Facebook took down the page of the Kenosha Guard, which had over 3,000 members. An event promoted by the militia last night included this call: “Any patriots willing to take up arms and defend our city tonight from the evil thugs?”
- Before the suspected shooter fled the city, a video taken by a bystander showed part of the incident in which the teenager fires upon approaching demonstrators in the street. He proceeds to walk toward officers stationed at the nearest intersection with his rifle slung around his shoulder and his hands up. No police apprehend him before the video cuts off.
NBA players strike to protest Blake shooting. The Milwaukee Bucks began the protest ahead of their Wednesday playoff game against the Orlando Magic, who also supported the move. The league later suspended a slew of games after other teams said they would follow suit. The strike spread to several others sports leagues, including the WNBA and MLS. On Tuesday night, Los Angeles Clippers Coach Doc Rivers spoke about Blake’s shooting during a press conference: “We keep loving this country, and this country doesn’t love us back.”
More takeaways on the NRA’s financials. In yesterday’s newsletter, my colleague Will Van Sant reported on a new audited financial statement that the National Rifle Association recently provided to the North Carolina secretary of state. It showed that the gun group’s membership revenue had fallen 34 percent in 2019, just as its legal, tax, and audit costs increased by 39 percent. To flesh out this development, Will spoke to Brian Mittendorf, a professor of accounting at The Ohio State University who has studied the group’s finances. We’ve previously reported on the NRA’s deficits from 2016 to 2018 based on the group’s 990 financial statements, but Mittendorf said the NRA again ran deficits last year. “No matter how you interpret it, things have gotten worse,” he said. “They are in the hole by $50 million if you are talking about the assets that they have at their discretion.” Absent from the new audit, which was posted Tuesday on North Carolina’s charities website, are notes detailing financial transactions with related parties and litigation in which the NRA is involved, Mittendorf said. As of Wednesday afternoon, the audit no longer appeared on the state website.
Four cities sue the ATF over ghost guns. In a new complaint filed in the Southern District of New York court, Chicago; San Jose; Syracuse, New York; and Columbia, South Carolina, say the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has refused to properly regulate DIY firearms and the kits used to assemble them. Homemade, untraceable firearms have increasingly turned up at crime scenes, as my colleague Alain Stephens has reported. (The plaintiffs were joined by Everytown Law, a division of Everytown for Gun Safety, whose nonpolitical Support Fund provides grants to The Trace. Here’s our list of major donors and our policy on editorial independence.)
Former Trump administration officials describe inaction on right-wing extremism. Two ex-officials at the Department of Homeland Security went on the record with Politico to say they conducted a yearslong campaign to warn about the threat — only to be consistently rebuffed by department heads and the president himself. “At least in this administration, there’s not going to be anything substantive done on domestic terrorism,” said Elizabeth Neumann, the agency’s former assistant secretary for threat prevention and security policy.
For the fourth day in a row, protesters in Lafayette, Louisiana, gathered to demand more information over last week’s fatal police shooting of 31-year-old Trayford Pellerin. The state police are investigating, but have divulged few details in the case, including the names of officers involved. [Lafayette Daily Advertiser]