KENOSHA, Wis. - Damage to city-owned property from violence that erupted over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha is estimated at nearly $2 million so far, a city official said.
The city's public works director, Shelly Billingsley, provided the estimate to local leaders Monday night on what it would cost to replace garbage trucks, street lights and traffic signals, among other things that were destroyed or damaged in the unrest last week.
Aftermath of unrest in Kenosha that followed the shooting of Jacob Blake
The estimate was made as some Kenosha residents feared Tuesday's planned visit by President Donald Trump may stir more emotions and cause more violence and destruction in the southeastern Wisconsin city after several days of peace. Others, however, welcomed the president’s trip.
Trump’s visit comes as demonstrators have been calling for the Kenosha officer who shot Blake seven times in the back Aug. 23 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.
Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot while police responded to a call about a domestic dispute. His family held a community gathering at the shooting site Tuesday, about 2 miles (3.22 kilometers) from Trump's event.
Protests erupt overnight following officer-involved shooting in Kenosha
While some Trump supporters and detractors got into shouting matches outside Trump's event, the Blake family gathering had a community block party feel to it. Tables were set up where attendees could register to vote, get a haircut, or even get tested for the COVID-19 virus. One table was labeled as a craft table where people could write messages to put in Blake’s hospital room. A DJ played music nearby.
Blake’s uncle, Justin Blake, said the event was focused on getting justice for “Little Jake” — not on Trump's visit. He also said it was designed to heal the city, and he urged supporters to press for change, but remain nonviolent.
Mayor John Antaramian has said the city will request $30 million in aid from the state to help rebuild in the aftermath of the unrest. Some of the city's garbage trucks, which were parked downtown to provide security and limit movement by protesters, were set on fire during the demonstrations.
Billingsley said they were insured and that city staff is working with the insurance company to log damage information, the Kenosha News reported. Some of the trucks, which had functioned as snow-plow vehicles in the winter, were also destroyed.
Billingsley said she hoped that the setback would not affect snow plow operations this winter. She told the Public Works Committee the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors could affect the timeline in obtaining the new trucks.
City staff continues to compile numbers from the damage, Billingsley said.