Kenosha, Wisconsin experienced a second night of violent rioting and arson late Monday and into early Tuesday morning. Rioters set fire to several buildings in the uptown and downtown areas, Kenosha police said.
Rioters disobeyed the 8:00 p.m. curfew on Monday while law enforcement in riot gear deployed tear gas and pepper balls to disperse the crowd. National Guard troops assisted Kenosha Police, Kenosha County Sheriff’s, and Pleasant Prairie Police departments among others.
At about 1:00 a.m. smoke could be seen from the distance consuming the heart of Kenosha, Wisconsin.
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In downtown and uptown Kenosha, windows from store fronts were smashed and buildings were broken into. Slogans like “Stop Killing Us” and “BLM” were painted across the walls of the city.
The Federalist observed unidentified individuals dressed in black with full face coverings who appeared to be looting a local laundromat and quickly fled the scene by vehicle. A video on social media showed a mattress store was among the shops broken into.
Throughout the city, private citizens, presumably store owners, were seen guarding their businesses and carrying guns. When approached for questions or comments by The Federalist, they all declined to be interviewed on or off camera.
After 1:00 a.m. the main riots were dispersed, but officers in riot gear were still handling several smaller groups of rioters.
Police holding riot shields and wearing helmets loosely line some of the streets in downtown Kenosha. pic.twitter.com/D8YgitDsSQ
— The Federalist (@FDRLST) August 25, 2020
A Kenosha resident, who lives near Reuther High School, told The Federalist, “I’ll tell you one thing, it’s f—ing sad.”
A woman from uptown Kenosha, who said she has lived there for over 40 years, explained that what she saw was terrifying and her city felt like a “war zone.” She broke down in tears saying, “I’m not too proud to cry In front of you guys. It was terrifying here. And to know that everything these people worked for is gone. It is the saddest thing.”
A woman, who said she has lived in Kenosha for over 40 years, broke down in tears saying that her city felt like a “war zone” and she was “terrified”. She requested that her face not be shown. pic.twitter.com/zi9KLQc2Xz
— The Federalist (@FDRLST) August 25, 2020
As the Kenosha resident looked at her community burning, she continued, telling The Federalist:
The little money we have we invest in the neighborhood. We no longer have a place to shop, we no longer have a place to socially gather. We no longer have income and industry in our neighborhood… I know that this is not the way to fix our problems here. This is not how you get change… You didn’t affect me tonight, you affected my children, my grandchildren, and my great grandchildren’s life here. There are no more jobs left here for these people. You destroyed any business that was able to restart after the virus. What’s the answer? I don’t know. But this is not the way a civil society handles things.
Another resident on the streets of Kenosha said “Seeing so many small businesses being so impacted…they had nothing to do with it.”
“I don’t think Kenosha destroyed their own town,” another woman added, “I think other people came and decided to destroy Kenosha. I don’t think it’s Kenosha people at all.”
The Kenosha, Wisconsin riots could prove to be a significant event in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election. Wisconsin is a key swing state and President Donald Trump has been struggling with his appeal to suburban women, a once reliable vote for Republicans in Wisconsin. The events in Kenosha, however, may sway people who are turned off by Trump’s style, but never expected safety, law, and order to be a top issues in this election.
Rioting and violence in Minnesota following the killing of George Floyd has resulted in a tightening of poll numbers in the state that once favored Democrats. The latest poll shows Minnesota in a dead heat with Biden at 46.9 percent and Trump at 46.5 percent. Democrat presidential nominee, Joe Biden, has begun airing ads in Minnesota, a sign that Democrats recognize they are vulnerable.
Watching a historic industrial Wisconsin city go up in flames may have a similar impact on poll numbers in the important suburbs of Milwaukee, where violence and movements to defund the police are unpopular.
Democrats have tied themselves politically to the Marxist Black Lives Matter organization and Joe Biden has refused to explicitly denounce Antifa or BLM. This may prove to be a politically untenable position as the destructive riots erode support from key demographics such as suburban moms and black inner city voters living in many of the areas most devastated by riots and lack of police protection.