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Kenosha activists call for change following video of officer kneeling on student's neck

Posted at 10:12 PM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 23:12:34-04

KENOSHA, Wisc. — Activists in Kenosha are calling for change in schools following a video that shows an off-duty officer kneeling on a student's neck.

The Kenosha Education Justice Coalition hosted an event outside the Civil War Museum on Friday afternoon.

"We want to come together as parents, educators and students—Black, white, Latinx, Asian, American Indian—to re-imagine Kenosha and demand safe and equitable schools for everyone," said Kyle Johnson, the political director for Black Leaders Organizing Communities (BLOC).

"It was very hard to see," said parent Sabrina Landry. "I don't know what the story is, and I'm sure this man feels really bad, but there's always other ways."

The coalition meant to host a town hall Friday evening for the community to discuss solutions surrounding safety and security in schools. The town hall has been postponed.

The Civil War Museum originally told the group it could not host the town hall, because its policy does not allow political gatherings. The Kenosha city attorney then told the museum that's a free speech violation, and the museum invited the group back to host the event.

The Civil War Museum says it is now updating its policy.

A statement from the museum reads in part, "The Kenosha Public Museums strongly support open community conversation about challenges our community faces. We recognize these ongoing conversations are essential to our community."

The coalition now says it will host the town hall elsewhere.

"There should have been no question about whether or not we could use the space to have an important conversation about safety and security in our schools," said Kendra Koeppen-Mulwana. "This is a problem in Kenosha, and is an example of another barrier preventing our city from growing."

The officer has resigned from the school position and is on desk duty at Kenosha Police. An internal investigation is ongoing.

The TMJ4 I-Team acquired the officer's employment records, which show at least seven instances of praise. The records show three uses of force, in which each time he used a taser on an adult.

An incident report obtained by TMJ4 News also indicates the student was "engaged in a physical altercation with another student."

"That doesn't mean you have to put a young (girl's) 12-year-old head on a concrete floor and then place your knee on her neck," said Justin Blake, Jacob Blake's uncle. "That means you break the two people apart, you settle the situation down, and you see where you go from there."

In the meantime, activists said they want the school board to implement several policies, some of which include requiring de-escalation and crisis intervention training for adults and officers who work at schools. They plan to discuss this at the April 26 school board meeting.

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