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Stormy Kenosha County Board Meeting Over Racial Inequities

Sept. 16, 2020 1a

(WGTD)---The white-male dominated Kenosha County Board usually deals with mostly non-controversial issues related to running county government. Tuesday night board supervisors received a two-hour-long exposure to a rage that’s brewing in the community over racial inequities.

"Me as a Black person and all my Black brothers and sisters--we have dealt with enough," said Rochelle Anderson-Moore, a former Kenosha County social worker. "If our children were taught the correct history--if your children were taught the correct history--we wouldn't be in this situation," she said. 

What drew several dozen speakers to Tuesday night's board meeting was a proposed resolution drafted by County Board Supervisor Terry Rose that establishes an action plan in response to the Jacob Blake protests and aftermath.

Kate Trudell argued that the resolution fails to adequately address the root causes of the unrest. "I read the resolution. While I think there are valuable comments about what happened in our community, the resolution largely ignores the elephant in the room when it comes to healing," she said. 

The board was to have voted on the resolution Tuesday night, but the measure never made it through the executive committee, which quickly adjourned earlier in the evening after a noisy dispute broke out between County Board Chair John O’Day and members of the public over citizen comments.

Adding fuel to the fire were social media reports and video indicating that a young Black man had gotten roughed up by police earlier in the day in a case of mistaken identity.

To make matters worse, several speakers took umbrage at County Board Supervisor Erin Decker’s decision to sit with her back facing the speakers.

Isaac Wallner, addressing the full board, said: "You stand by a racist silently you might as well be a racist yourself. You stand by Erin Decker silently--while she is obviously a racist--you all might as well be a racist yourself."

Decker said afterward she sat the way she did because she didn’t want to look at posters taped to the wall of the meeting room accusing her and other supervisors of being racist. She called the posters hate-filled lies.