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Kenosha mayor lifts curfew, citing nights of relative peace

Police are asking for the public's help in identifying those responsible for torching several businesses, including Car Source, a pre-owned vehicle dealership in Kenosha, Wis.  Photo by Alex Wroblewski/UPI
Police are asking for the public's help in identifying those responsible for torching several businesses, including Car Source, a pre-owned vehicle dealership in Kenosha, Wis.  Photo by Alex Wroblewski/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 3 (UPI) -- More than a week after protests in Kenosha, Wis., erupted following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, officials have ended a state of emergency curfew, citing several nights of relative peace.

Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian announced the curfew's suspension in a statement Wednesday, saying the decision was made following consultations with law enforcement and community leaders.

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"After consulting with local law enforcement agencies, I have decided the curfew is no longer needed," Antaramian said. "The last several nights have been relatively peaceful in the community, and in the judgment of law enforcement, it is appropriate to remove the curfew."

The mayor warned that criminal activity will not be tolerated and arrests will be made if the violence flares up again.

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"I am hopeful there will be no need to reinstate the curfew in the near future," he said.

Antaramian imposed the curfew on Aug. 24 during protests against racism and police brutality that erupted in the city, located along Lake Michigan between Milwaukee and Chicago, after a police officer shot Blake, an unarmed Black man, in the back seven times in broad daylight a day prior, leaving him paralyzed.

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On Aug. 25, two people were fatally shot during the unrest, and Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, has since been charged with two counts of murder for their deaths.

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The protests resulted in damage to several businesses and buildings, and investigators on Wednesday released photos and videos of people sought for questioning.

Protesters set fire to 20 buildings and seven cars during the demonstrations, the Milwaukee field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said in a statement, and law enforcement officials are seeking those responsible.

"We are asking the community to look at these images and videos and provide information to help solve these arsons," said Kristen de Tineo, special agent in charge of the ATF's Chicago field office. "Engaging the community is imperative to not only solving these arsons, it will help the community heal and build trust among all Kenosha stakeholders."

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On Tuesday, President Donald Trump visited Kenosha, despite opposition from Gov. Tony Evers, Antaramian and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes over fears he would fuel flames of division.

During the visit, Trump toured charred sites of the protests and said the city had been "ravaged by anti-police and anti-American riots" while announcing plans to provide $1 million to local law enforcement, $4 million to support the damaged businesses and $42 million for state law enforcement.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is challenging Trump in the Nov. 3 election, announced Wednesday that he and his wife, Jill Biden, would attend a community meeting in Kenosha on Thursday to "bring together Americans to heal and address the challenges we face."

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