FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 27, 2020
touring Kenosha and witnessing many wrongs

Chicago, IL – Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. is holding a press conference 11:30 a.m. today, Friday, August 28th, to call for an end to vigilantism that led to the deaths of two peaceful protesters in Kenosha, Wis., and the wounding of another and how the teen who allegedly shot them gained possession of the AR-15 rifle used in that shooting.

The press conference will be held in the Evans Chapel at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters, 930 E.50th St. It comes on a day before the 57th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech in Washington, D.C. and the 65th anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till.

After touring Kenosha, Wis. Thursday where 29-year-old Jacob Blake, a father of three, was shot seven times in the back reportedly by Kenosha officer Rusten Sheskey, who is on administrative leave, and after talking to Blake’s family, Rev. Jackson is calling on police to remove the handcuffs from Blake who remains hospitalized and paralyzed from the waist down. Rev. Jackson said it doesn’t make sense to have Blake handcuffed to his hospital bed when he can’t even walk.

Rev. Jackson has several questions about 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse arrested for reportedly killing the protesters and injuring a third during day three of unrest in Kenosha–an act Rev. Jackson and his field director, Bishop Tavis Grant, said is a clear case for gun reform. Rev. Jackson said Rittenhouses actions “were unjustifiable.” The killings took place during a Black Lives Matter protest against the shooting of Blake.

Witnesses and cell videos show Rittenhouse, who lives with his mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, nurses assistant, in Antioch, IL, armed with an AR-15 spraying bullets at protesters who were trying to seize his gun. Wisconsin allows for concealed carry for residents with a Wisconsin Concealed weapons License (CWL).

Rev. Jackson wants to know if Rittenhouse’s mother gave him the rifle and did she bring him to the protest and took him home the night of the shooting.

He also wants to know why police didn’t arrest the teen last Tuesday when the shooting took place as he walked pass officers with the AR-15 slung over his back while witnesses were telling police what he had allegedly done. “We need better police protection at these protests,” Rev. Jackson said.

It has been 60 years since Rev. Jackson left jail in Greenville, NC where he and seven others led a successful fight to integrate the libraries, but throughout his civil rights struggle, Rev. Jackson said he sees a pattern of killings of black unarmed men by white police many of whom “kill and walk away” without convictions like Trayvon Martin and many others.

“There is a pattern here where killers walk free,” Rev. Jackson said pointing to the three officers who stormed the home of Breonna Taylor, 29, killing her but who are still free.

Rev. Jackson is disturbed over the contrast of Rittenhouse’s ability to kill, walk by police and go home as opposed to Blake, who was unarmed and shot seven times in the back after trying to break up a fight. Rev. Jackson will talk about the bifurcated judicial system—one set of rules for whites, another for blacks.

The case of the Blake shooting, said Bishop Tavis Grant, national field director for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition who accompanied Rev. Jackson to Kenosha, “exposes the danger when you have irresponsible gun legislation that allows some people to kill anybody.”

During Rev. Jackson’s civil rights battles, he continues to see a pattern of killing unarmed black men and women while many white officers remaining free. Rev. Jackson said this cannot continue.

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Media Contacts:
Frank Watkins
fwatkins@rainbowpush.org
Chinta Strausberg
cstrausberg@rainbowpush.org
Alanna Ford
aford@rainbowpush.org

 

Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.