A Kenosha car dealership that was targeted Monday night during protests-turned-riots in the Wisconsin city reportedly incurred an estimated $1.5 million in damage as a result of the fires set during the first night of unrest while local business owners continue to grapple with the ongoing destruction.
The owners of Car Source in Kenosha told local affiliate FOX 6 Milwaukee the business suffered $500,000 in property damage plus between $900,000 and $1 million in inventory damage during the first night of civil unrest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man.
More than 50 cars were reported to have been damaged in the early Monday morning blaze, according to the outlet.
Prior to the destruction, Car Source -- which had a sign that read “Black Lives Matter” hanging at the dealership -- had more than 140 vehicles available for sale, according to its website.
Another local business, Dale’s Jewelry, lost $200,000 worth of jewelry and incurred another $200,000 in property damage, the owner told FOX 6.
“We’ve served a lot of people, been good to people, and this is the thanks you get, so it’s sad,” said the owner, who was not identified in the clip. "That is not protesting ... All this is doing is bringing us to the brink of a Civil War."
Car Source was targeted again late Monday into Tuesday, along with another car dealership and other businesses and properties, according to social media posts.
The southeastern Wisconsin city became the nation's latest flashpoint in a summer of racial unrest after cellphone footage of the police shooting of Jacob Blake -- apparently shot in the back, as he leaned into his SUV while his three children sat in the vehicle -- circulated widely on social media Sunday. The 29-year-old was hospitalized in serious condition as of Monday.
The shooting drew condemnation from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who also called in 125 members of the National Guard on Monday after protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and clashed with officers in riot gear the previous night.
Police first fired tear gas Monday about 30 minutes after the 8 p.m. curfew took effect to disperse protesters who chanted, “No justice, no peace” as they confronted a line of officers who wore protective gear and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the courthouse entrance. But hundreds of people stuck around, screaming at police and lighting fires, including to a garbage truck near the courthouse.
Tensions had flared anew earlier Monday after a news conference with Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian, originally to be held in a park, was moved inside the city’s public safety building. Hundreds of protesters rushed to the building and a door was snapped off its hinges before police in riot gear pepper-sprayed the crowd, which included a photographer from The Associated Press.
Police in the former auto manufacturing center of 100,000 people midway between Milwaukee and Chicago said they were responding to a call about a domestic dispute when they encountered Blake on Sunday. They did not say whether Blake was armed or why police opened fire, released no details on the dispute and did not immediately disclose the race of the three officers at the scene.
The man who said he made the cellphone video, 22-year-old Raysean White, said he saw Blake scuffling with three officers and reportedly heard them yell, “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!" before the gunfire erupted. He said he didn't see a knife in Blake's hands.
The governor said he has seen no information to suggest Blake had a knife or other weapon but that the case is still being investigated by the state Justice Department.
The officers were placed on administrative leave, standard practice in a shooting by police. Authorities released no details about the officers and did not immediately respond to requests for their service records.
Evers was quick to condemn the bloodshed, saying that while not all details were known, “what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.