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STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | A look at local and state government ties to Idaho militias … Colorado interstate reopens after two-week wildfire closure … Connecticut city to name sewer plant after John Oliver.
The Wisconsin National Guard was deployed to Kenosha on Monday after Sunday night protests following the police shooting of a Black man in the back. For the second night on Monday and into Tuesday morning, peaceful demonstrations about the shooting of Jacob Blake grew destructive, with fires set and police clashing with protesters. A group of businesses in a residential neighborhood was set ablaze and others were looted. Video of the shooting showed two officers pointing guns at Blake as he walked to an SUV. An officer fired multiple times at close range toward Blake's back as he tried to get into the driver’s seat. Blake is in the hospital and listed in serious condition. The two officers were placed on administrative leave pending a state investigation. The video was quickly disseminated on social media, spurring the protests that began Sunday night in Kenosha, a city of around 100,000 near Lake Michigan. On Monday, Gov. Tony Evers emphasized that the National Guard deployment, which was requested by local leaders, was for limited purposes of protecting critical infrastructure. “While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country,” Evers said in a statement on Sunday night.
A statement by the Kenosha Professional Police Association criticized the governor, saying "As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident. We ask that you withhold from passing judgement until all the facts are known and released.” Police have said they were at the location where Blake was shot in response to a domestic incident, but have not explained why officers used potentially deadly force. One neighbor told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that before the shooting Blake had been barbecuing outside with his kids and was seen trying to break up a fight between adults. Three of Blake's children were in the vehicle where he was shot, said attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the family. Kenosha Alderman Anthony Kennedy described local residents as understandably angry over the shooting. “They're very frustrated and very vocal in their frustration," he said. Evers said he would call the Wisconsin legislature into session on Aug. 31 in order to consider legislation meant to reduce police brutality. But Republican lawmakers, who control both the House and Senate, indicated they want to move more slowly. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Kenosha News; Chicago Tribune]
MILITIA GOVERNMENT | A number of local and state elected officials in Idaho have ties to the state’s burgeoning militia movement or have “liked” groups like Oath Keepers or Three Percenters on Facebook. [Idaho Statesman]
REOPENED INTERSTATE | Colorado officials have reopened Interstate 70, a major east-west corridor in the state. The road had been closed in both directions between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum—a stretch in the middle of Colorado—for two weeks because of a raging wildfire. The Grizzly Peak fire is one of four major wildfires burning in Colorado. [Denver Post]
PROTEST FELONY | Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a law that will make camping on state property, like the Capitol grounds, a felony crime punishable by one to six years in prison. The measure was drawn up in response to protests against police brutality. Camping on government property was previously a misdemeanor. [The Tennessean]
RENAMED SEWER PLANT | In a tongue-in-cheek video, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton announced the Connecticut city renamed its sewer plant for John Oliver after the comedian lashed out at its jury selection process on a recent episode of his HBO show. “We are going to rename it the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant. Why? Because it's full of crap just like you, John,” Boughton said in a video. On a recent “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” show, Oliver took aim at a number of Connecticut municipalities for racial disparities during jury selection. But Oliver had some remarks specifically for Danbury, located about 50 miles outside of New York City. “I know exactly three things about Danbury,” he said. “USA Today ranked it the second-best city to live in in 2015, it was once the center of the American hat industry and if you’re from there, you have a standing invite to come get a thrashing from John Oliver—children included—(expletive) you.” [Associated Press]
Laura Maggi is the managing editor of Route Fifty.