Republicans in Wisconsin are not letting the two-year anniversary of the Jacob Blake shooting, and Gov. Tony Evers’ reaction to it, go unnoticed.
It was on August 23, 2020, that a Kenosha police officer shot Blake in the back after Blake fought with officers, shrugged off a Taser, went to get into his ex-girlfriend’s SUV, and finally reached for a knife.
That shooting touched off three days of protests and riots that left Kenosha burned and battered.
“Tony Evers has failed us. He consistently provides weak leadership,” Republican candidate for governor Tim Michels said Tuesday.
Michels held a roundtable event in Kenosha to mark the anniversary of Blake’s shootings, as well as the start of the riots in Kenosha.
Eric Toney, Fond du Lac District Attorney, participated in the tour led by Kenosha Police and the roundtable with Michels on public safety. Congressman Bryan Steil also participated.
Toney released the following statement:
“On August 23, 2020, Josh Kaul failed Kenosha and Wisconsin. Kaul had to have known Jacob Blake was armed with a knife because he was investigating the shooting. Kaul sat silently as Tony Evers rushed to judgment by condemning and convicting the police officer involved in the shooting with no facts. Kaul should have forcefully pushed back against Evers and told the world what Evers said was not true, there are more facts, to remain calm, and allow the integrity of investigation to be protected. Instead, he said nothing that night knowing the Governor was wrong.”
Toney added: “Kaul was MIA for Kenosha and our law enforcement when they needed him the most. By failing to rebuke Governor Evers’ factually incorrect and dangerous comments, he failed Wisconsin and contributed to the lawlessness and violence that ensued.”
“Is it any wonder why Governor Evers desperately wants to change the subject and talk about anything other than Kenosha today?” Michels added in a Tweet.
Michels used Evers’ “no regrets” comments in a new campaign commercial that hammers the governor for his response to the shooting and the riots.
Evers at the time blamed the police for Blake’s shooting.
“Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin,” the governor wrote after the shooting in 2020. “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 continued: “We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity, and accountability for Black lives in our country – lives like those of George Floyd, of Breonna Taylor, Tony Robinson, Dontre Hamilton, Ernest Lacy, and Sylville Smith. And we stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.”
Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Paul Farrow also called out the governor for his original comments about the shooting and the riots that followed, as well as his silence on this two-year anniversary.
“When the people of Kenosha needed a steady hand, Evers answered by playing politics, inflaming tensions, blaming law enforcement, and refusing federal help while the city burned,” Farrow said in a statement.
Gov. Evers was silent about the anniversary of Blake’s shooting on Tuesday.
Evers issued an outrageous statement right after the shooting first occurred, which arguably incited riots and arson fires, part of which was:
“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 never took responsibility for releasing the statement.