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We all saw the rioting, looting and pure chaos that took place in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the shooting of Jacob Blake. When the riots first began, a rioter pulled a gun out on a reporter. An elderly man attempted to defend his business and the mob beat him to a bloody pulp. Things seem to have calmed down a bit and now people are assessing the damage, including an Indian immigrant whose entire business went up in flames. Once the dust settled, pictures showed the wreckage that was left behind by people from out of town who came to cause chaos and destruction.
According to Heather Wessling, the vice president of economic development for the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, 100 businesses have sustained significant damage and roughly 40 businesses are “out of business” for good. Based on the business association’s findings, around $50 million in damage was done to buildings and businesses, Kenosha News reported.
Kenosha County Supervisor Terry Rose said the board needs to put political differences aside and come together on behalf of Kenoshans to figure out how to fix things for those in the community. Specifically, he wants to see the state and federal governments step up to help rebuild Kenosha, including the state’s correction center and the probation and parole building, both of which were burned down during the riots.
“The county needs to assist the city in bolstering the Uptown community,” Rose said. “We need to seek federal funds, state funds or local funds to make sure that those body cameras, which we authorized in (a) prior resolution, are made very much a part of the forthcoming budget.”
The supervisor also wants a county debriefing so leaders know “what went right and what went wrong.” He also wants to address the issue that brought outsiders to Kenosha to begin with.
“But the one issue that we need to make very clear to the people here whose lives have been endangered, whose property has been destroyed, who lived in nightly fear, is the same message we need to send to people who might come here from out of town or elsewhere,” Rose said. “Our message has to be very clear: Never again. Never again. Never again.”
Supervisor Zach Rodriguez also read comments from residents who had concerns about their safety and the safety of the area. At least one resident is concerned riots could happen again, especially once a verdict is rendered in the Blake shooting.
Rodriguez, however, had a message for those who came from other areas to “protest.”
“To the people who burned down our city, we won’t allow it ever again,” he said.