Some residents in Kenosha fear a planned visit by U.S. President Donald Trump after unrest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake may stir more emotions and cause more violence and destruction in the southeastern Wisconsin city after several days of peace.
The city’s mayor also said he believed Trump’s visit comes at a bad time.
But others welcome the president’s trip, scheduled for Tuesday, when he will tour damage and meet with law enforcement.
Trump’s visit comes as demonstrators are calling for the officer who shot Blake to be fired and face attempted murder charges, and more than a week after authorities say a 17-year-old from northern Illinois shot and killed two protesters.
When asked Monday whether he feared Trump’s visit could stir more violence, Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser said: “We’ll find out tomorrow, won’t we.”
The tension began Aug. 23 after a video showed a Kenosha police officer shooting Blake, a Black man, in the back while responding to a call about a domestic dispute. All last week, Black Lives Matter protesters held events to call for changes to policing. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers called a special session of the Legislature for Monday to take up a host of police reform measures, but Republicans took no immediate action, with both the Senate and Assembly going into recess less than 30 seconds after starting the session.
Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said more than 200 people have been arrested since the protests began. Of those, more than half were from outside Kenosha.
Many arrests were for curfew violations, and included possible charges for burglary, possession of illegal drugs and carrying concealed weapons without a permit, officials said.
The Police Department has said more than 20 firearms were seized.