Trevor Noah: Why Was Jacob Blake Shot 7 Times but Kyle Rittenhouse Wasn't a Threat

'Black skin is the most threatening weapon of all,' the comedian says in a viral video on the differences in the police handling of the two incidents in Kenosha

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Protesters march against the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, August 26, 2020. ]
Protesters march against the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, August 26, 2020. ]Credit: David Goldman/AP Photo

The Daily Show host Trevor Noah called out the double standards of policing tactics used by forces in Kenosha in video released Wednesday. The comedian questioned why Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back while Kyle Rittenhouse was peacefully taken into custody one day after allegedly shooting two people and wounding a third during protests over racial injustice. 

“I’ll never get used to how quickly police go from issuing demands to using deadly force,” Noah said. “Whatever happened to warning shots? Or tackling a suspect? Are we really meant to believe that the only two options a cop has is do nothing or shoot somebody in the back seven times?”

Noah was referring to an incident on Sunday in which Blake, 29, was shot in the back seven times as he leaned into his SUV, three of his children seated inside. Kenosha police have said little about what happened other than that they were responding to a domestic dispute.

After several days of protests over the shooting of Blake, Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, about 15 miles (24.14 kilometers) from Kenosha, was taken into custody in Illinois on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide in the attack Tuesday that was largely captured on cellphone video. The shooting killed two and left a third person wounded. 

A video director for the conservative website The Daily Caller tweeted Wednesday that he had conducted a video interview with the suspected gunman before the shooting and posted a clip in which the armed young man, standing in front of a boarded-up building, said “our job is to protect this business.”

“Nobody drives into a city with guns because they love someone else’s business that much. That’s some bullshit. No one has ever thought, ‘Oh, it’s my solemn duty to pick up a rifle and protect that T.J. Maxx.’ They do it because they’re hoping to shoot someone,” Noah said.   

“It really made me wonder why some people get shot seven times in the back, while other people are treated like human beings and reasoned with and taken into custody with no bullets in their bodies,” the comedian added.  

"The gun doesn’t matter as much as who is holding the gun,” Noah concluded. “Because to some people, Black skin is the most threatening weapon of all.” 

In the wake of the killings, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers authorized the deployment of 500 members of the National Guard to Kenosha, doubling the number of troops in the city of 100,000 midway between Milwaukee and Chicago. The governor’s office said he is working with other states to bring in additional National Guard members and law officers. Authorities also announced a 7 P.M. curfew, though protesters ignored it again Wednesday.

As of early Thursday, the protests were mostly peaceful, in contrast to the violent clashes that marked earlier nights of protests. There were no groups patrolling with long guns as they had on previous nights, and protesters stayed away from a courthouse that had been the site of standoffs with law enforcement.