DEBBIE ELLIOTT, HOST:
More people in the streets of Kenosha this weekend - this time, a march led by members of Jacob Blake's family. Blake is in the hospital. His family says he's paralyzed. Kenosha police Officer Rusten Sheskey, responding to a domestic dispute Sunday, shot Blake seven times in the back. Yesterday's demonstration called for racial justice and an end to police brutality. We're joined now by Kenosha's mayor, John Antaramian.
Mayor, good morning. Thank you for coming on the program.
JOHN ANTARAMIAN: Good morning. Not a problem. Glad to be here.
ELLIOTT: There have been protesters in Kenosha's streets every night since the shooting, with violence and widespread damage earlier in the week, including two people killed by an armed civilian. Now President Trump is saying he is on his way there this week. How are you preparing for a presidential visit? And will that kind of attention be good or bad for Kenosha?
ANTARAMIAN: Well, realistically, from our perspective, our preference would've been for him not to be coming at this point in time. All presidents are always welcome, and campaign issues are always going on. But it would've been, I think, better had he waited for another time to come.
ELLIOTT: How were things overnight there?
ANTARAMIAN: Actually very peaceful. The Blake family was - had the vigil. They basically talked - the majority of them talking about peaceful protesting, which is exactly what they should be doing and exactly what the city of Kenosha appreciates happening. Peaceful protests are not a problem. Our biggest problem really did come from people coming from outside the area and causing a great deal of damage and destruction.
There is always a need for dialogue in these situations, and the community needs to have a very heart-to-heart talk with itself as to some of the issues that we do face. But it's not the situation I think that people perceive that the people in Kenosha are rioting and doing that. They are protesting and absolutely have every right to protest, and we support their ability to protest. We don't support the damage and destruction that people are doing. As I said, the majority of that, from what we've seen, has come from the outside. And so that is very discouraging.
Now the real issue is, how do we heal? How do we create the situation where we get an honest dialogue? I always tell people - my father used to always say, people always talk. The real issue is, is anyone listening? And I think that really is the key for us - is that we need to start listening to people and dealing with the issues that they see. And therefore, we will be a better community from it. We will come back from this stronger, and we will rebuild. And we will have a better conversation as to what we need to do. So that's...
ELLIOTT: I want to ask you now, if I could, a little bit about your police chief, Daniel Miskinis. He's been fielding some tough questions about why his officers didn't do anything to stop that armed civilian, Kyle Rittenhouse, after two protesters were shot dead and another wounded. He's been steadfast this week that his officers behaved properly, even as recently as Friday's press conference.
(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)
DANIEL MISKINIS: There was nothing to suggest that this person was involved in any criminal behavior. He continued. He made contact near the officer's door. And you can hear on the recording I heard that the officers were telling him to get out of the road. Clearly, they're not seeing him as a suspect or a threat of any kind.
ELLIOTT: Briefly - we have about 30 seconds left - is that how you understand the situation? And does the police chief have your confidence?
ANTARAMIAN: The police chief does have my confidence, and this is an issue that will be reviewed and looked at as to how this all occurred. But I think the other part of it is that you have to remember at the time that this was going on, officers were responding to shots fired all over the area. And I don't believe they understood at the time what was happening with actually someone down at the moment. So they were trying to do what they need to do.
However, I don't - you know, I was not there, and I'm not going to just sit here and say if we should've done it differently or not. We will look into the issue, and we will make a determination and make sure that whatever occurred was done correctly, number one, and number two, that if things like this happen, we need to make sure that they don't happen again.
ELLIOTT: Thank you so much. That's Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian.
Thank you for being with us.
ANTARAMIAN: Sure. Bye-bye.
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