New data shows that far-right vigilantes, often with support from cops, have threatened protesters nearly 500 times since police killed George Floyd. Before Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly opened fire on anti-racist protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday night — killing two and severely injuring another — a video showed police essentially deputizing the 17-year-old. Rittenhouse had been walking the streets of Kenosha carrying an assault rifle alongside other armed white men, a local self-styled militia formed for the purported purpose of protecting property from protesters. “We appreciate you guys, we really do,” a cop can be heard telling the group over a loudspeaker before tossing Rittenhouse a bottle of water. It was a scene familiar in American history: agents of the state conscripting armed white vigilantes to help violently suppress movements for racial justice and liberation. (“Cops and the Klan go hand in hand,” the common protest chant goes.) So it wasn’t surprising to see Rittenhouse, in another video published Tuesday, walk toward police after allegedly killing the two protesters — or for him not to be apprehended until the following day, when he was arrested at his home in Illinois. As historic uprisings against police brutality have swept the country in recent months, antagonistic right-wing vigilantes have been a constant, menacing presence. Often seen patrolling Black Lives Matter protests with the tacit — and very often explicit — support of law enforcement, these vigilantes have shot protesters, attacked them with cars, and beaten them. And as political tensions intensify heading into the presidential election this fall — with a president who routinely demonizes anti-racist protesters as “thugs” and terrorists, and with reactionary police forces desperate to beat back calls for their own abolishment — there’s genuine concern that the deadly vigilante violence on display in Kenosha could be replicated elsewhere. White vigilantes and far-right actors have shown up to oppose Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S. at least 497 times this year, according to data collected by Alexander Reid Ross, a doctoral fellow at the Center for Analysis of the Radical Right. He started gathering data on May 27, two days after police in Minneapolis killed George Floyd, and continued through this week. The dataset, which Ross shared with HuffPost, documents a staggering amount of violence directed at protesters by the far-right, including 64 cases of simple assault, 38 incidents of vigilantes driving cars into demonstrators, and nine times shots were fired at protesters

via huff: White Vigilantes Have Always Had A Friend In Police

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