KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS) — There were a lot of questions Thursday for those in charge in Kenosha, as the city has dealt with days of unrest after the shooting of Jacob Blake by police.
But we’re not getting any answers. The Kenosha County sheriff walked out of the room as CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar tried to ask him a question.
It took city and county officials 72 hours to get in front of a camera and say anything about the shooting of Jacob Blake or the ensuing unrest. And then on Thursday, they told reporters that they wouldn’t be answering any questions.
After three nights of violence and clashes between police and protesters, and two people being shot and killed – allegedly by 17-year old gunman Kyle Rittenhouse – Wednesday saw peaceful protests.
“Last night was very peaceful,” said Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth.
“It was a less tumultuous night, and I would agree. Unfortunately, there were still weapons charges, and there were still persons arrested on warrants,” said Kenosha police Chief Daniel Miskinis.
But city and county leaders have faced scrutiny for the unrest, using tear gas and other non-lethal weapons to disperse crowds who at times grew violent.
Others accuse leaders of sitting back and allowing looting and destruction.
But now there is a different kind of fire Sheriff Beth is having to put out.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Thursday played audio of a 2018 news conference by Beth.
“These people are not an asset to society. These people just need to flat out go away,” Beth said, addressing the arrests in a carjacking case that year.
In the 2018 news conference, Beth said further: “At some point, we have to stop being politically correct. And I don’t care what race. I don’t how old they are – if there’s a threshold that they cross, these people have to be warehoused.”
“He’s using this dog and whistle ‘these people,’” said Bishop Tavis Grant of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. “We are not ‘these people.’ We are Black people and Black lives matter.”
We tried asking Sheriff Beth what he meant on that occasion, but again, he was not taking any questions. But two years ago, the sheriff did apologize for the remarks.
The curfew in Kenosha Thursday night again begins at 7 p.m.