The chief of police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where two people were shot and killed on a night of protests after Jacob Blake’s shooting, appeared to shift the blame for the shooting to those who broke the city’s curfew.
During a Wednesday news conference, Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said the shooting may not have happened if demonstrators and the accused gunman had obeyed the city’s newly imposed 8 p.m. curfew.
“Everybody involved was out after the curfew,” Miskinis said. “I’m not gonna make a great deal of it but the point is – the curfew’s in place to protect. Had persons not been out involved in violation of that, perhaps the situation that unfolded would not have happened.”
CNN has reached out to the Kenosha Police Department for further comment.
The “situation” was a shooting that left two people dead and another seriously injured early Wednesday morning. Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Antioch, Illinois, has been charged in a single shooting incident. Police have not said who is responsible for committing all of the shootings, and they have not provided details on the incident Rittenhouse is charged with.
Kenosha, Wisconsin, has become the epicenter of nationwide protests against police brutality after an officer shot Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, seven times in the back at close range while three of his children watched from his car.
Blake survived the shooting, and he’s being treated in a local hospital for his injuries. His father, also named Jacob Blake, told CNN that his son is paralyzed from the waist down, though he’s not sure if the paralysis is permanent.
At Wednesday’s conference, Miskinis emphasized that police were not responsible for the fatal shooting that killed a 26-year-old and a 36-year-old.
“This is not a police action,” he said. “This is not the action, I believe, of those who set out to do protests. It is the persons who were involved after the legal time, involved in illegal activity, that brought violence to this community.”
During his Wednesday night show, Fox News host Tucker Carlson appeared to defend the 17-year-old accused of the killings and said that while authorities “stood back and watched Kenosha burn,” the accused teen tried to “maintain order.”
“How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?” Carlson asked on his program.
Carlson was roundly criticized for appearing to praise vigilantism and “justify murder.” He made similarly inflammatory comments about the Black Lives Matter movement earlier this summer.
CNN’s Konstantin Toropin and Oliver Darcy contributed to this report.