KENOSHA — Kenosha police have arrested nine people who they say were preparing for "criminal activity related to the civil unrest" by bringing in helmets, gas masks, protective vests and other items using out-of-state vehicles.
Kenosha police said in a statement Thursday that they received a tip about a group of out-of-state protesters in the city.
Investigators say they stopped them under the belief they were going to the protests to cause damage.
A video on Facebook shows two black SUVs surround a minivan.
Police say this was one of several vehicles at the gas station near Washington Avenue and Wood Road in Kenosha, filling up multiple gas cans before heading to the protests.
Police arrested nine people and say they found helmets, gas masks, protective vests, illegal fireworks and what they believe are controlled substances.
A group called Riot Kitchen out of Seattle says it was their crew in the van who was arrested.
They are a food truck from Seattle and say they were in Kenosha to feed people.
The family of 26-year-old Adelana Akindes says she was also arrested in a different but similar situation on her way to a peaceful protest.
“She didn’t do anything. What did she do? She was exercising her civil rights as a citizen. She was seeking to exercise peaceful demonstration to be a part of peaceful demonstration,” says Akindes.
The nine people were arrested for disorderly conduct and are pending charging decisions by the Kenosha County District Attorney.
“Her and two other organizers were leaving a house and, a few blocks away, unmarked trucks without license plates and no identification had picked her and the two other organizers up,” Omar Flores with Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression said. “They said, don’t even try it. We’re cops. There was no reason to believe they were cops in unmarked vehicles.”
Akindes parents, professors in the UW System, say they’re proud of their daughter’s belief in standing up during these times.
“Her name means that she is opening a path or a way,” Simon Adetona Akindes, Adelana’s father said. “That is going to be her path and she’s on her path. I’m not very concerned.”
Her mother was initially frightened at the news but felt more confident after the ACLU got involved. Now, her concern switches to the treatment her daughter faced as compared to 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse; the teen accused of shooting and killing two protesters and injuring a third.
“I think the answer is quite clear,” Fay Akindes, Adelana’s mother said. “There is a stark difference in how Kyle and Adelana were treated. She didn’t do anything. What did she do? She was exercising her civil rights as a citizen. She was seeking to exercise peaceful demonstration to be part of a peaceful demonstration.”
Flores says, these arrests are indicative of a flawed system that is disciplining the wrong people.
“It certainly fans the flames,” Flores said. “There is this rhetoric of outside agitators and whatever else. This is not the people of Kenosha and whatever else. Really, the outside agitators are the cops who come from different cities and imposing things they shouldn’t.”
The Akindes family believes she would be released Thursday evening.