by Alan Macleod
Coordination between police and far-right groups is far from abnormal but as yesterday’s killings show, it is becoming much more dangerous.
Three people were shot and two died last night in Keshona, Wis, as right-wing militias hit the streets, shooting demonstrators protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday. After two nights of angry demonstrations, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, who originally described the event as a “merciless” act of police cruelty, called in the National Guard and declared a state of emergency. However, along with the National Guard came large numbers of right-wing militia groups, existing relatively harmoniously with law enforcement. Far-right news organizations and websites had earlier signal boosted the Kenosha Guard militia’s call for reinforcements to come to “protect lives and property.”
Last night’s killings were filmed and immediately posted on social media. In one video, protesters fight with an armed militiaman, who fires at three people at point blank range, killing two. He then hurries from the scene, “repeating “I just killed someone,” retreating back towards police lines, still carrying his rifle. Even as the crowd shout to the police that the killer is coming towards them, they ignore him, instead instructing the protesters to get out of the way.
The shooter has been widely identified as a 17-year-old boy. From his public Facebook page, it is clear that he idolizes the police, his profile picture being a “Blue Lives Matter” logo with him in the center, holding a rifle. Virtually every post he made is about either the police or guns. As of Wednesday morning, he is still at large. Footage taken earlier in the night shows the teenager bragging that he and his crew “don’t have non-lethal” ammunition with them.
Another video shows them fraternizing with heavily militarized police, who offer them water and tell him “we appreciate you guys, we really do,” evidence which might explain why he was neither shot nor even arrested after killing two people right in front of dozens of law enforcement officers.
Not an isolated incident
Coordination between police and far-right groups is far from abnormal. During the George Floyd protests, Oregon police associated with groups such as the Proud Boys, video showing one officer asking the group to hide in a building because they were about to start gassing protesters, but to do it “discreetly,” as they did not want to be seen as “playing favorites.” Another Oregon officer was caught on camera flashing the “White Power” hand gesture at right-wing counter demonstrators.