For Immediate Release
August 27, 2020
COLOR OF CHANGE: WISCONSIN NEEDS POLICING OVERHAUL, LEGISLATIVE UPHEAVAL TO ADDRESS SPIRALING PUBLIC SAFETY CRISIS
Rashad Robinson, President of Color Of Change, issued the following statement in response to the ongoing crisis unfolding in Kenosha, Wisconsin:
“First, Kenosha police officers shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in front of his young children. Then they arrested, tear-gassed, and beat the anti-racist protesters demanding justice in Mr. Blake’s honor. When a mob of armed white-supremacist-vigilantes disrupted peaceful protests, they made no effort to disarm them and instead thanked them for supporting the violent efforts of the police. And when one of those radicals opened fire on protestors, killing two people, officers ignored the pleas of eyewitnesses and did nothing to detain him.
“Our policing system has routinely treated Black lives as disposable and upheld racist, white supremacist ideals. Now, as this crisis unfolds and tragedy continues to strike, Kenosha provides the ultimate case-in-point on the danger and inherent racism of American policing.
“Across the country, in sorrow and in fury, from the ranks of the NBA to the brave activists in the streets to the grieving families of shooting victims, the entire nation is rising up to demand change. Time and time again, we’ve seen how aggressive, heavy-handed policing targets Black people, tears families apart, and upends entire communities — even in just the past few months. But despite a wave of nationwide protests and forceful demands from advocates, the same elected leaders who’ve been quick to denounce protestors and call in the military to quash demonstrations have rejected calls for reform. Instead, they’ve given cover to violent radicals — most notably the police — under the false premise of ‘law and order.’ These leaders are willfully disregarding the will of the people, and they must be held to task.
“Kenosha, Wisconsin is in crisis and local, state, and federal officials must deploy a fair and humane response to ensure public safety. In this critical moment, in coalition with local organizers in Wisconsin, Color Of Change demands that:
- Mayor John Antaramian and the Kenosha police department immediately remove Officer Rusten Shesky from the police force;
- Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul charge Officer Shesky for the attempted murder of Jacob Blake; and
- Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin state legislature approve $25 million for community-based public safety solutions when they convene for their special legislative session next week
“The ties between American policing and white supremacy are inextricable, and we cannot expect to achieve fairness or safety so long as our culture empowers white extremists. An unhinged gunman has been taken into custody, but for Mr. Blake, the unnamed shooting victims, and their loved ones, this one arrest is a far cry from delivering justice. Each of the shooters — police and vigilante — in Kenosha must be held accountable for the havoc they wrought, and officials must begin dismantling America’s twisted fixation with racist, militarized enforcement.”