KENOSHA, Wisc. – Starting on Aug. 23rd, rioting took place in Kenosha for multiple days. People were upset about the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Buildings and businesses were set ablaze and livelihoods were destroyed. Townhall's own Julio Rosas was on the ground covering the chaos.
According to Heather Wessling, the vice president of economic development for the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, 100 businesses have sustained significant damage and roughly 40 businesses are "out of business" for good. Based on the business association's findings, which were announced two weeks ago, around $50 million in damage was done to buildings and businesses.
One month after the rioting took place and the city of Kenosha is still recovering from its aftermath. The areas that were hit the hardest, predominantly in the downtown area, are boarded up. Plywood that covers windows have murals and pro-Black Live Matter sentiments on them.
I’m in Kenosha right now. Seeing a lot of boarded up buildings. pic.twitter.com/LATq1T7P9B— Beth Baumann (@eb454) September 24, 2020
The Kenosha police building is boarded up: pic.twitter.com/9FynfTrc0k— Beth Baumann (@eb454) September 24, 2020
There’s evidence of where a fire across the street from the police building: pic.twitter.com/QCUQCAqIVV— Beth Baumann (@eb454) September 24, 2020
The building in front of it is boarded up with tributes pic.twitter.com/yGHmb7RJPr— Beth Baumann (@eb454) September 24, 2020
And phrases pic.twitter.com/cgwwPTy5j9— Beth Baumann (@eb454) September 24, 2020
More boarded up buildings. Murals seem to be popular. pic.twitter.com/E5KOi5MyGM— Beth Baumann (@eb454) September 24, 2020
More of the boarded up buildings. This is all throughout the city. pic.twitter.com/spzgxsF2mA— Beth Baumann (@eb454) September 24, 2020
Some of the messages were heart-wrenching. One said a blind, disabled person lives on the second floor. Others stated children live above. Both messages were a clear plea for rioters to spare the building.
“Blind disabled 2nd floor” pic.twitter.com/ucuVVFGYRh— Beth Baumann (@eb454) September 24, 2020
Even a church was tagged and had to be boarded up:
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church pic.twitter.com/TS05FjHHBB— Beth Baumann (@eb454) September 24, 2020
They even tagged “ACAB” on the church steps. pic.twitter.com/FpRTw3s9OS— Beth Baumann (@eb454) September 24, 2020
The area where the results of the rioting took place can be seen the most at the Car Source parking lot, which is owned by Sam, an Indian immigrant. A couple days after the rioting took place on his lot, he explained his experience. The first night, rioters set one side of his lot on fire. Originally 10-15 cars on one side of the lot were salvageable. Sam and his crew attempted to save those cars but ran out of time. Curfew took effect. That's when rioters relit the fires and demolished the remaining cars.
"It's awful. We built this tire-by-tire, car-by-car. It's a family business. We started off with six cars, now we have over 100 cars," Sam said. "What did we do to deserve all this? We didn't do anything."
Here's what the car lot looked like on Aug. 28th:
Here is another look at Sam’s dealership in Kenosha, Wisconsin. pic.twitter.com/OYPkxG4sAs— The Federalist (@FDRLST) August 29, 2020
Here's what it looked like on Thursday, virtually unchanged:
The car lot that was set on fire. Every single car was touched. pic.twitter.com/0t1ozCYyER— Beth Baumann (@eb454) September 24, 2020
Some of the businesses that had began taking down their plywood window coverings put them back up on Thursday. The Kenosha Police Department warned business owners that Jesse Jackson was coming to town later in the day to hold a protest alongside other Black Lives Matter supporters.
Businesses in downtown are boarding back up. Kenosha PD has given owners a heads up that a “protest” is happening tonight & Jesse Jackson is in town. He didn’t want to go on the record out of fear of being targeted. pic.twitter.com/6HUYOARsqG— Beth Baumann (@eb454) September 24, 2020
One of the business owners I ran into was distraught about the possibility of having more riots plague the city. He was boarding up his business based on the possibility that Thursday night's protests could turn violent. He ultimately decided to "stay neutral" and not to go on the record about his experience based on the fear that his business could become a target.