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National Guard Deployed After Shooting Of Black Man Sparks Protests

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Hundreds of people in Kenosha, Wis., defied a curfew last night.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) Black Lives Matter.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: No justice.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: No peace.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: No justice.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: No peace.

INSKEEP: They were chanting Black Lives Matter while protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake, who's said to be in serious condition. Some people set fires and looted businesses. The governor has deployed the National Guard and called for a special session of the Legislature to take up police reform. LaToya Dennis of our member station WUWM is on the line. Good morning.

LATOYA DENNIS, BYLINE: Good morning.

INSKEEP: What was the scene like in Kenosha yesterday?

DENNIS: You know, when I got to Kenosha - which was pretty early in the afternoon, around 12:30 - there were already protesters marching through the streets, holding up traffic, holding signs and chanting. And they worked their way around the city for a while before heading to a park, where the mayor was supposed to be holding a press conference, the mayor and, you know, the leader of the NAACP and such. That press conference was moved many times because there were fears over safety, basically, by - I don't know - some of the people who called this protest.

And, ultimately, we ended up indoors. And protesters wanted in. So, really, they tried pulling at the doors. They wanted in. They wanted to hear what the mayor had to say. And, ultimately, they said, unless he's saying that the officer or officers involved were fired that he shouldn't be talking at all. And so that's where protesters stood throughout the day. And last night, that message continued on. But the scene changed a bit because some protesters began setting fires. Some buildings were broken into. And it got pretty chaotic at times, as they were met by police in riot gear and tear gas and rubber bullets and the such.

INSKEEP: What did you hear from some of those protesters?

DENNIS: You know, one of the things that I heard is that they are united. You know, this is a guy named Terry Andrews (ph), who I believe we're about to hear from, and he was there on Monday night.

TERRY ANDREWS: I believe this is the time. I believe it's time to step up. I'm not for no violence, I'm saying, but I'm saying that you can't control one aspect - call for peace when they're not peaceful. And everybody's united. Everybody's united.

DENNIS: And, again, when he says everyone's united, he means protesters are united.

INSKEEP: Let me follow up on something you mentioned. You said the protesters were demanding to hear that the police officers were fired. We're told they are instead on administrative leave. What's known about who they are?

DENNIS: You know, we don't know who they are. They have not been identified yet, and the Department of Justice is investigating. Now, the Department of Justice says that, within 30 days, it hopes to have a report to the district attorney, who will then decide whether to move forward with charges. And as for the Blake family, they're asking that people remain civil, but they say they're not going to let this go at all. They've retained civil rights attorney Ben Crump for representation. And Blake's father will be speaking at the Al Sharpton March on Washington commemoration on Friday.

INSKEEP: Very well-known civil rights attorney. In a couple of sentences, how are community leaders responding?

DENNIS: Community leaders are asking for peace but saying that we need real change here because this is traumatizing for everyone. And they say that people really have to start listening to each other, and police reform has to be implemented, or we're going to continue to see this.

INSKEEP: LaToya Dennis of WUWM. Thanks. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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