Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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Wisconsin National Guard troops arrive at the Kenosha County courthouse on August 30, 2020. [AP Photo/Morry Gash]

Daily Bulletin: ‘Like Growing up in a War Zone:’ Kenosha’s Legacy of Inequality

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

“Growing up in Kenosha was like growing up in a war zone.” A bracing investigation by Injustice Watch and The Chicago Reader explores the structural racism Black Wisconsinites faced long before the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Kenosha resident Tim Thompkins spoke for many when he described the town’s police force as a ubiquitous and often oppressive feature in the neighborhood where he grew up. He added that he had been stopped by police over 100 times in the course of his life. Crunching the numbers on racial disparities: The article analyzed Wisconsin’s 10 biggest cities and found that those with the highest percentage of Black residents — Kenosha, Milwaukee, and Racine — directed the largest share of municipal budgets to policing. Moreover, white people comprised 89 percent of Kenosha’s police force despite making up just two-thirds of the residents. “These protests aren’t just happening out of nowhere,” Thompkins said.

Biden accuses Trump of inflaming tensions after recent shootings. “He may believe mouthing the words ‘law and order’ makes him strong, but his failure to call on his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia in this country shows you how weak he is,” the Democratic presidential candidate said at a campaign stop in Pittsburgh. Biden also decried looting that has transpired following recent protests — including in Kenosha and Portland — and said the president was “recklessly encouraging violence” in his response to the fatal shooting in Portland on Saturday night of a member of a far-right group.

Trump is scheduled to go to Kenosha tonight. The trip comes despite opposition from the governor and other state Democratic leaders who have implored the president not to come, fearful his presence might inflame tensions in the city. The president plans to meet with law enforcement and other groups. An attorney for Jacob Blake’s family said the White House had not asked for a meeting. “If he wanted to reach out, he should have reached out like Joe Biden did days ago,” Blake’s father told reporters. Meanwhile, Trump defended the 17-year-old who was charged in the fatal shooting deaths of two protesters in Kenosha last week.

A majority of Americans support protests against police brutality — until “defund” is mentioned. Writing for The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, researchers found that tying support for protests against police brutality to defunding law enforcement budgets reduced support for demonstrations by about 20 percent. This was particularly true for Democratic, Republican, and independent subgroups. (A majority of Black respondents supported protests regardless of how they were framed.) However, the researchers also found that majorities across all groups wanted social services to supplement policing. This included “things like maintaining order in public spaces, handling community engagement like youth outreach, and responding to people experiencing mental health crises,” one of the authors wrote in a Twitter thread about the findings.

California advances bill to require mandatory reviews of fatal police shootings. The measure, which was passed by the state Senate on Monday, would require the Attorney General’s Office to independently investigate every lethal use of force by police. It now heads to the state Assembly for a final vote. Despite bipartisan support in the Capitol, a previous version of the measure faced opposition from Attorney General Xavier Becerra for being prohibitively costly. His office was still examining the new bill.

A man who pulled a gun at a Black Lives Matter protest will not face charges. The incident happened in Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday after the man and several protesters engaged in a fistfight that was partially filmed. What caused the fighting is a matter of dispute. The man who had the gun pointed at him told The Tallahassee Democrat the armed man instigated the fight after shoving a female protester. But the police sided with the man, saying he was under attack and had a legal right to self defense.

DATA POINT

70 — the percentage of Black respondents that supported defunding the police, more than double the 34 percent support of white respondents. [Researcher Kyle Peyton, as a part of the above Washington Post survey]