A march and rally took place in Kenosha on Tuesday night after several hours of relative calm early Tuesday night in the wake of the district attorney's announcement that he would not file charges against the police officer who shot Jacob Blake.
But it was all over in a couple of hours. Supporters of Blake, upset by the decision by District Attorney Michael Graveley not to charge Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey, took to the streets to express their anger, but did so without the unrest that followed Blake's August shooting.
The shooting had sparked protests that went on for several nights. Some of them turned violent, with some protesters burning businesses and members of self-styled militias answering a call on social media to travel to the city. Prosecutors have charged Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch, Ill., with shooting three people, killing two of them with an assault-style weapon during one of the demonstrations. Rittenhouse pleaded not guilty Tuesday afternoon.
As of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, there had been no reports of violence, damage or injuries in Kenosha.
Shortly after 8 p.m., a caravan of about 30 cars with horns honking and roughly 50 marchers worked its way through the residential areas near Library Park and Allendale. Marchers were yelling "Wake up Kenosha" as they made their way down the normally quiet area.
At about 8:45 p.m., a group of about 60 protesters had assembled outside the Kenosha County Administration Building at 10th Avenue and 56th Street, across the street from the Kenosha Dinosaur Museum.
"Does this look like a violent assembly to you? Because you all look pretty stupid right now," a woman with a megaphone taunted National Guard troops standing guard outside the nearby courthouse, which on Monday was surrounded by protective chain link fence.
Penelope Bailey, an Oshkosh, Wis. resident who has been involved in the protests since Blake's shooting on Aug. 23, said the police and National Guard's presence, combined with businesses that had already boarded up, portended the decision that the officer would not be charged.
"That right there let us know a) what the decision was going to be; b) that we were going to be disappointed; and c) they basically assumed that an entire race of people were going to be so upset that they were going to cause unrest and destruction," she said. "What they fail to realize is that unrest isn't caused until you try and breach our rights to gather and protest."
Other chanters shouted, "Seven shots in the back. No, that ain't right." Some confronted National Guard troops and police who stood guard outside the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, 5608 10th Ave.
Graveley at his press conference Tuesday afternoon confirmed that Blake had been hit by seven bullets — four in his back and three on his left side — when he was shot by Sheskey as police tried to take Blake into custody during a domestic dispute call.
At about 9:15 p.m., protesters marched away from the Courthouse down Sheridan Road to the Collective barbershop on 13th Avenue and 52nd Street. As they cleared the Courthouse, National Guard troops that had been stationed outside went inside the building.
Madison Taft of Kenosha, who attended the protest, called Graveley's decision "ridiculous."
"There is no reason that this man (Sheskey) should not have been charged for, at least, excessive force," she said. "I would like to say that I was shocked (about the decision), but I knew it was coming. I would like to say I was angry, but that's not the right word. I was so let down by our justice system."
By 9:30 p.m. everything was over. Those taking part in the protest dispersed in orderly fashion, leaving in their cars.
There was also no immediate reports of damage to property in and around the area.
Taft said she and others who have been at demonstrations would continue to protest peacefully.
"We do not want to incite violence. We don't want the riots to start again. We want to be seen as a community working together as a collective to better our justice system and to better our city," she said.