“I literally witnessed firsthand a massive amount of organized white supremacists driving around in pickup trucks, targeting protesters,” Democratic state Rep. David Bowen of Milwaukee said in an interview Thursday on “Democracy Now.”
“They were there not there to try to defend businesses,” added Bowen, who was at the protest Tuesday night when two demonstrators were fatally shot. “They were there to hurt people. They were armed, and they were using chemical irritants. They were harassing protesters.”
A possible vigilante recruit and Donald Trump supporter, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, has been charged with homicide in the shooting deaths of two demonstrators and the wounding of a volunteer medic Tuesday night. He traveled from his home in Illinois armed with a semiautomatic rifle, according to investigators. The shootings were captured on video.
The protesters were killed as they demonstrated against the Kenosha police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black father, on Sunday. Blake was shot seven times in the back by as he walked to his car, where his three young children were waiting for him.
The vigilante “Kenosha Guard” had been recruiting members on Facebook to join the “Armed Citizens to Protect Our Lives and Property” in Kenosha. The call to arms was picked up and distributed by the far-right conspiracy website Infowars.
Bowen said Rittenhouse was seen “joking around” with police before the protesters were killed.
“You don’t walk around shooting people away from a property that you supposedly were there to defend,” Bowen said. “It’s very clear that they were on a hunting spree. This was not the defense of property. And we should be very clear about that.”
Check out the interview in the video up top.