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Kenosha dealership owner says more than 50 cars were torched, civil unrest caused more than $1.5 million in damage

Fires continued to burn in the city into Tuesday morning.
Credit: AP
Police stand near a garbage truck ablaze during protests, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis., sparked by the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha Police officer a day earlier. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

KENOSHA, Wis. — Civil unrest continued Monday night into Tuesday morning in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

It was the second night of protests in the city after video appears to show a Black man get shot in the back by police Sunday night.

Several businesses were looted and burned this week, including more than 50 cars at a local dealership, according to Fox 6. The location television station reported the owner of Car Source told them $900,000 to $1 million in inventory was damaged and $500,000 in damage was caused to the lot and building Sunday night. 

CBS 58 reported multiple fires continued to burn in the city into Tuesday morning. 

Protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and clashed with officers in riot gear after an officer-involved shooting in Kenosha on Sunday, Aug. 23. SKYFOX flew over a car lot about a block from the Kenosha County Courthouse that sustained fire damage. https://bit.ly/3j8VQ5L

Posted by FOX6 News Milwaukee on Monday, August 24, 2020

RELATED: Kenosha protesters, police clash again Monday after Black man shot

Kenosha became the nation's latest flashpoint in a summer of racial unrest after cellphone footage of police shooting Jacob Blake on Sunday around 5 p.m. in broad daylight circulated on social media. The shooting drew condemnation from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who called out 125 members of the National Guard to quell protests.

Protesters chanted, “No justice, no peace” as they confronted a line of law enforcement officers who wore protective gear and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the courthouse entrance.

Police first fired the tear gas about 30 minutes after the 8 p.m. curfew took effect, and protesters refused to disperse. But hundreds of people stuck around, lighting fires and screaming at police.

The latest confrontation came after protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and clashed with officers in riot gear Sunday night over the wounding of 29-year-old Blake, who was hospitalized in serious condition. In a widely seen cellphone video made by an onlooker, Blake was shot, apparently in the back, as he leaned into his SUV while his three children sat in the vehicle.

Tensions flared anew earlier Monday after a news conference with Kenosha Mayor John Antarmian, originally to be held in a park, was moved inside the city’s public safety building. Hundreds of protesters rushed to the building, and a door was snapped off its hinges before police in riot gear pepper-sprayed the crowd, which included a photographer from The Associated Press.

Police in the former auto manufacturing center of 100,000 people midway between Milwaukee and Chicago said they were responding to a call about a domestic dispute. They did not say whether Blake was armed or why police opened fire, they released no details on the domestic dispute, and they did not immediately disclose the race of the three officers at the scene.

The man who claimed to have made the video, 22-year-old Raysean White, said that he saw Blake scuffling with three officers and heard them yell, “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!" before the gunfire erupted. He said he didn't see a knife in Blake's hands.

The governor said that he has seen no information to suggest Blake had a knife or other weapon, but that the case is still being investigated by the state Justice Department.

The officers were placed on administrative leave, standard practice in a shooting by police. Authorities released no details about the officers or their service records.

Evers was quick to condemn the bloodshed, saying that while not all details were known, “what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country.”

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called for “an immediate, full and transparent investigation” and said the officers “must be held accountable.”

“This morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force,” he said, just over two months before Election Day in a country already roiled by the recent deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. “Those shots pierce the soul of our nation."

Republicans and the police union accused the politicians of rushing to judgment, reflecting the deep partisan divide in Wisconsin, a key presidential battleground state. Wisconsin GOP members also decried the violent protests, echoing the law-and-order theme that President Donald Trump has been using in his reelection campaign.

“As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident,” Pete Deates, president of the Kenosha police union, said in a statement. He called the governor’s statement “wholly irresponsible.”

For more than 100 years, Kenosha was an auto manufacturing center, but it has now largely been transformed into a bedroom community for Milwaukee and Chicago. The city is about 67 percent white, 11.5 percent Black and 17.6 percent Hispanic, according to 2019 Census data. Both the mayor and police chief are white. About 17 percent of the population lives in poverty. 

RELATED: Wisconsin National Guard called to Kenosha after police shooting

The Associated Press contributed to this story. 

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