Two people are dead after being shot at a protest on Tuesday in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A local self-described militia group had posted an event on Facebook urging its armed supporters to show up that same night. It may not be a coincidence.
The event was posted by the Facebook Page for the Kenosha Guard militia group. The group encouraged “armed citizens” to appear as a counter protest to those demonstrating over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
“Law enforcement is outnumbered and our Mayor has failed,” read the Facebook event information along with details on where and when to meet up. “Take up arms and let’s defend our CITY!”
Protests have erupted in Kenosha since Blake, an unarmed Black man, was shot seven times in the back on Sunday. Blake remains hospitalized, in stable condition.
One week ago, Facebook that it would crack down on pages and groups that encouraged “potential violence” as part of the company’s updated policy. Facebook specifically mentioned militia groups in its update.
Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Illinois, was charged on Wednesday with first-degree murder. Following the shootings, numerous videos were shared on social media showing an armed Rittenhouse alongside other gun-toting counter-protesters to be with local militia groups. Video footage also exists of Rittenhouse shooting at protesters.
It’s unknown at this time if Rittenhouse or the group he attended the protests with saw the Kenosha Guard’s Facebook event.
Facebook could not provide a statement at the time of this report as the company is still actively investigating the incident and working with law enforcement.
Facebook has the page for the Kenosha Guard for violating that newly that now covers militia groups. The company is also designating the shooting as a violating event and will remove accounts and content depicting what transpired.
A Facebook account belonging to Rittenhouse shows an obsession with law enforcement and support for Blue Lives Matter. Rittenhouse’s Facebook page has also been taken down, although it’s unclear who removed it.
The shooting has been a topic of discussion within Boogaloo groups on Facebook. Boogaloo, also known as the Boogaloo Boys (or Bois), is a loosely-organized far-right militia movement that seeks to spark a second Civil War in the United States.
There has even been infighting within these groups as to whether Rittenhouse could be deemed Boogaloo as some say his pro-law enforcement stance runs counter to the movement. The Boogaloo movement does appear to be heralding his actions though. It’s unclear if Rittenhouse had any connection to Boogaloo groups.
However, one thing is clear: Those Boogaloo groups shouldn’t even exist on Facebook to begin with.