A woman who attended a town hall event in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Thursday with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden appeared to suggest when it was her time to speak that she was told to stick to what was written on a piece of paper.
“My name in Porsche Bennett,” the woman said. “I’m just going to be honest, Mr. Biden, I was told to go off this paper, but I can’t. You need the truth and I’m part of the truth.”
Attendee at Biden’s Kenosha town hall event, Portia Bennett (sp?): “I’m going to be honest. I was told to go off this paper but I just can’t. You need the truth.” pic.twitter.com/9zxl7zaMUd
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 3, 2020
“I was born here, raised here, first eighth-grade class at the school that was named after his mother,” the woman continued. “So, I have to give you the truth of the people. And the truth of the matter is, we are heavily angry. Not angry as to where people say, ‘Oh, they’re protesting,’ there’s a difference between a protester and a rioter. A very big difference.”
Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer responded to the news clip of the woman saying that she was supposed to read off the piece of paper by writing on Twitter: “The press would be in a feeding frenzy if the Bush staff handed ‘real’ people the questions to ask Bush at townhall style event. Let’s see how acquiescent the Biden press corps is – or can they still be tough on the person they cover?”
The press would be in a feeding frenzy if the Bush staff handed “real” people the questions to ask Bush at townhall style event. Let’s see how acquiescent the Biden press corps is – or can they still be tough on the person they cover? https://t.co/YnEStaegc3
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) September 3, 2020
Washington Post blogger Jonathan Capehart spoke to the woman sometime after the event ended and asked her about the piece of paper that she had. She reportedly claimed that she was given the piece of paper by Black Lives Activists Kenosha (BLAK).
Bennett said the paper she had was given to her by her organization. The name of the group is Black Lives Activists Kenosha (BLAK) and Bennett is an organizer. Here's what she told me about that paper and why she went off-script. 2/3
— Jonathan Capehart (@CapehartJ) September 3, 2020
The woman’s remarks came at an event that Biden attended for Jacob Blake, a black man who was shot after he allegedly resisted law enforcement officials who were attempting to arrest him, and tried to enter a vehicle.
“During the investigation following the initial incident, Mr. Blake admitted that he had a knife in his possession,” the Wisconsin Department of Justice said in a statement. “DCI agents recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of Mr. Blake’s vehicle. A search of the vehicle located no additional weapons.”
The Kenosha Professional Police Association (KPPA) slammed the media’s narrative on the incident, calling it “wholly inaccurate.”
“The recent officer-involved shooting in Kenosha has produced a variety of feelings and narratives; most of which are wholly inaccurate,” the statement begins. “The purely fictional depiction of events coming from those without direct knowledge of what actually occurred is incredibly harmful, and provides no benefit to anyone whatsoever, other than to perpetuate a misleading narrative.”
KPPA’s statement added the following points in their statement:
- The officers were dispatched to the location due to a complaint that Mr. Blake was attempting to steal the caller’s keys/vehicle.
- Officers were aware of Mr. Blake’s open warrant for felony sexual assault (3rd degree) before they arrived on scene.
- Mr. Blake was not breaking up a fight between two females when officers arrived on scene.
- The silver SUV seen in the widely circulated video was not Mr. Blake’s vehicle.
- Mr. Blake was not unarmed. He was armed with a knife. The officers did not see the knife initially. The officers first saw him holding the knife while they were on the passenger side of the vehicle. The “main” video circulating on the internet shows Mr. Blake with the knife in his left hand when he rounds the front of the car. The officers issued repeated commands for Mr. Blake to drop the knife. He did not comply.
- The officers initially tried to speak with Mr. Blake, but he was uncooperative.
- The officers then began issuing verbal commands to Mr. Blake, but he was non-complaint.
- The officers next went “hands-on” with Mr. Blake, so as to gain compliance and control.
- Mr. Blake actively resisted the officers’ attempt to gain compliance.
- The officers then disengaged and drew their tasers, issuing commands to Mr. Blake that he would be tased if he did not comply.
- Based on his non-compliance, one officer tased Mr. Blake. The taser did not incapacitate Mr. Blake.
- The officers once more went “hands-on” with Mr. Blake; again, trying to gain control of the escalating situation.
- Mr. Blake forcefully fought with the officers, including putting one of the officers in a headlock.
- A second taser (from a different officer than had deployed the initial taser) was then deployed on Mr. Blake. It did not appear to have any impact on him.
- Based on the inability to gain compliance and control after using verbal, physical and lesslethal means, the officers drew their firearms.
- Mr. Blake continued to ignore the officers’ commands, even with the threat of lethal force now present.
This story has been updated to include additional reporting from Washington Post blogger Jonathan Capehart.