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Kenosha police chief explains why suspect was able to walk away after allegedly shooting 3 people

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At a press conference on Friday, Kenosha, Wis., Police Chief Dan Miskinis responded to a question about why suspect Kyle Rittenhouse was able to walk by law enforcement after allegedly shooting three people in the aftermath of Jacob Blake being shot by police.

Video Transcript

This is in regards to what happened Tuesday night with the shooting.

DAN MISKINIS: OK.

The suspect is seen on video walking away from the scene, presumably, based on the position, with a body or someone on the ground behind him, with an assault rifle. And he was able to leave the scene and wasn’t questioned. So just from a procedural standpoint, can you give us an idea on why that didn’t happen, why he was able to leave the scene when, presumably, when people were actually heard on video as well saying, this man shot someone.

DAN MISKINIS: Sure. That– it’s a good question. So to understand what happened that night and what you saw in the film or the video clip there, you need to understand what was happening in the greater scheme of things.

There were a lot of people in the area, lot of people with weapons, and unfortunately a lot of gunfire. So what the officers were walking into, or driving into in this case, was a shots fired complaint, not a shooting, not a person down complaint. We have had many of those over the course of this unfortunate event.

So they’re responding to that. They see somebody walking toward them with his hands up. That, too, isn’t out of the ordinary, given how all the events have been going on. Many people, as I drove around, and others have explained, have seen the same thing. We have armed individuals out protesting or counter-protesting or simply walking around exercising their right who’ll put their hands up.

So that’s not– it might have been abnormal two weeks ago. It’s no longer abnormal. So there was nothing to suggest that this person was involved in a criminal behavior.

He continued– he made contact near the officer’s door. And you can hear, on the recording I heard, that the officers are telling him to get out of the way. Clearly, they’re not seeing him as a suspect or a threat of any kind. He’s allowed to leave, where he goes to Antioch and turns himself in, because we have no idea that he’s involved. The officers become focused on what they see down the road.

Was that a lapse in judgment?

DAN MISKINIS: What’s that?

Was that a lapse in judgment to not stop him?

DAN MISKINIS: I would say not, given the circumstances. And again, as I said, two weeks ago my answer might have been different. But right now, the totality of circumstances– nothing suggested this person or anybody else who was armed around them was the person. They were very unlikely to have heard any comments from the crowd next to the vehicles that were there, the radio traffic, the gunfire, the crowd.