Kenosha Riots Cause $2 Million in Damage to City Property

September 1, 2020 Updated: September 1, 2020

A Kenosha city official said that the destruction to city-owned property caused by rioters last week following the police shooting of Jacob Blake has caused nearly $2 million in damage.

The estimate is based on what it would cost to replace damaged items, including smashed lights and garbage trucks set ablaze, but does not include personnel costs, according to Kenosha public works director, Shelly Billingsley, The Associated Press reports.

“Right now, we’re estimating between lost equipment, lost street lights, lost traffic signals, and miscellaneous sign damage–we’re estimating a cost of approximately $1.9 million,” Billingsley said in an update reported to the city’s Public Works Committee, according to Kenosha News.

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An American flag flies in front of a department of corrections building after it was set ablaze during a second night of rioting in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 24, 2020. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Billingsley added that her staff continues to tally the numbers in the wake of the destruction, which erupted after Blake was shot on Aug. 23 while resisting arrest in a confrontation with police, suffering serious injuries. The shooting sparked a wave of protests, some turning violent, with rioters torching half a dozen buildings, including a number of small businesses. On the third night of unrest, there was a shooting that resulted in one injury and two deaths. Authorities imposed a curfew in a bid to quell the unrest and minimize the threat to people and property.

Authorities initially refused offers of federal assistance to help cope with the rioting, but after a shooting involving an Illinois teenager, the National Guard was sent in.

President Donald Trump, who’s planning to visit Kenosha to survey the damage and meet with business owners and law enforcement, told reporters on Monday night that the unrest there was subdued thanks to the deployment of federal forces.

“Tomorrow, I’m going to a place where we moved very quickly—you know that—in Wisconsin. And we moved very, very quickly. And as soon as we moved, that was the end of that. It was very well behaved,” Trump said.

“It should be very interesting. But we’re proud of it because, in six days, it’s been like a different world. And it took place immediately. As soon as we surged, as soon as we went in, it took place immediately,” he added later.

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Police officers stand guard inside of a fenced area that surrounds several government buildings in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 27, 2020. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Kenosha city alderman Bill Siel said at the committee meeting that some of the costs to taxpayers can be recovered through insurance.

“I know that some of our old garbage trucks are no more, they were burned,” he said, according to Kenosha News. “But as much as it is a loss, the burning hulks did provide some additional security. So, I guess they went down with a fight.”

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