13 Hours - Kenosha's Ignored Militia Threat

August 25th 2020 was labeled “A Deadly Night In Kenosha”.  Thirteen hours before the shootings, local and federal law enforcement would start a threat analysis of anything related to Kenosha County.  Law Enforcement would spend more time analyzing caravans of protestors and rumors than they did armed citizens and militia that were quickly organizing via social media.  While many released videos and live streams showing militia standing around throughout various parts of the city.  There was a lot more that was happening behind the scenes that law enforcement blatantly ignored.  Various local and federal officers would label these armed citizens and militia “friendly” but how friendly were they really?  NSM went through thousands of internal messages from law enforcement and hundreds of social media posts to determine just how “friendly” these groups really were and what their true intentions were that night, and it wasn’t to safe guard buildings.  They wanted violence, and death.  And law enforcement allowed it to happen.

At 10:24am on Aug. 25th 2020 Police Officer Chris Heidermann of the Milwaukee Fusion Center sent an internal email detailing his conversation with a Kenosha County Sheriff.  The email states: “All, I took a phone call today from Det. Kristopher Schwartz from the Kenosha Co. Sheriff’s Dept.  Obviously we know the situation that is occurring in the City of Kenosha with the OIS, and the civil disturbance the last 2 nights.  Their department is making a request for assistance from us, to monitor social media regarding anything protest/disturbance related in Kenosha County.  They are aware there are large numbers of people coming to Kenosha, specifically to participate in civil disturbance.  Det. Schwartz and two other detectives can be notified of any upcoming/planned protests, etc. located on social media.  Please contact Det. Schwartz with any further questions/concerns.  Thank you”.

Twenty minutes later at 10:44am the Admin of the Kenosha Guard page posted: “Any patriots willing to take up arms and defend out {sic} city tonight from the evil thugs?  Nondoubt {sic} they are planning on the next part of the city to burn tonight”!

The page also posted an event titled “Armed Citizens to Protect our Lives and Property.  The event was eventually picked up by the conspiracy outlet Infowars ran by Alex Jones.  The Infowars post received more attention than the pages Facebook interactions reaching an audience of over 103,000.

The page encouraged others to take up arms in Kenosha.  At 11:11am a group called “STAND UP KENOSHA!!!! TONIGHT WE COME TOGETHER” was created by a user named “Ness C-Tino.  The group and the associated Facebook account no longer exist, but it is believed the creator of the group is Ness Cosentino who also has an account under the name Vinesz C-Tino.  Another member of the group posted a second event at 1:09pm which appears to be a screen shot from a well known live streamer from Seattle that NSM can't name for legal reasons entitled “Citizen Brigade…Stand Up Kenosha!” which invited people to assemble at Petretti Park at 7pm.  Later at 7:25pm an officer would send an internal message “40 vehicles assembled at Petretti Park, they are part of Citizens Brigade to protect businesses”.

Six minutes later on Reddit a user posted “When do we start defending our city”?


BassmasterFisherDude replied “Time to purge….Purge!  BassmasterFisherDude would also go on to post at 1:40pm “I am on the way with 75 people from Green Bay We have lots of guns. Lots of pipe bombs. Going to cleanse the streets of rioters”. At 2:00pm NTOC (National Threat Operation Section) received a notification regarding this post.  The notification would go on to state “We have no further intel at this time but NTOC is now issuing an exigency request to identify the original user of the Reddit post to identify user/info”.  This email wouldn’t get shared with the FBI until 3:52pm.  At 9:30pm the threat would not be taken seriously as NTOC found the threat to be discredited, despite law enforcement bomb squads actually finding pipe bombs in various parts of the city.

At 1:42pm an internal email was sent through the Milwaukee FBI who had also been monitoring social media accounts.  The email reads: “As of 25 August 2020, 1215hrs, according to FBI Social Media Team and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, two demonstrations are to occur in Kenosha today.  First led by People’s Revolution organized by Khalil Coleman who plans to lead a vehicular assembly to Kenosha from Milwaukee to the city of Kenosha.  In addition another group called “Armed Citizens to Protect Our Lives and Property” are also planning on organizing at 2000hrs at 25 August 2020 at a park in Kenosha.  The group refers to themselves as the “Kenosha Guard” and the post encourages members to take up arms.  (Note- these groups are of conflicting ideologies and could potentially be a flashpoint for violence.  We have no intelligence at this time to indicate either group plans on inciting violence, but will continue monitor”.


At 1:58pm Ness C-Tino made another post on the STAND UP KENOSHA Group.  Over the course of the day and evening members of the STAND UP KENOSHA Group issues threats and encouraged violence.  At 2:58pm “This shit ends 2night this is our fucking city” one member wrote. 

At 3:30pm The Milwaukee Fusion Center was monitoring a post of “200 cars were enroute to Kenosha from MN.  Nobody could verify if this were actually true.

At 4:27pm a member of STAND UP KENOSHA wrote “Time to start busting heads”.

At 5:42pm an Admin for the Kenosha Guard posted an open letter.  The letter read “Chief Miskinis, As you know I am the commander of the Kenosha Guard, a local militia.  We are mobilizing tonight and have about 3,000 RSVP’s.  We have volunteers that will be Uptown, downtown, and at the entrances to other neighborhoods.  Our effort has made national media.  I ask that you do NOT have your officers tell us to go home under threat of arrest as you have done in the past.  We are willing to talk to KPD and open a discussion.  It is evident, that no matter how many Officers, deputies, and other law enforcement officers that are here, you will still be outnumbered.  Thank you, Kenosha Guard Commander Kevin Mathewson”.

This letter would also be emailed to former Chief Daniel Miskinis and Public Information Officer Lt. Joseph Nosalik.  Despite the email being “flagged”, Nosalik would deny seeing this email until a month after the Kenosha unrest.  It is still undetermined whether any law enforcement responded to the email.

Tensions already began to flare, law enforcement was aware and yet there was still no solid plan.  By 5:58pm a text message came through from an employee with the Department of Homeland Security warning of possible Boogaloo Militia members organizing in Kenosha.  It wouldn’t be until 6:55pm that an email would be sent with the subject line titled: Boogaloo Members Planning Possible Protest Tonight 8/24.  “For situational awareness….It appears that Boogaloo Members are planning a possible open carry protest tonight in Kenosha WI at the corner of 58th and 52nd Street around 8pm in response to the recent police shooting that took place yesterday.  Chicago JTTF…not sure if you can forward to anyone out there such as HIS or Milwaukee JTTF”.   These weren’t the only posts flooding social media from far right militia groups discussing the events happening in Kenosha.  Boogaloo members were also seen on August 25th at the Ultimate gas station.

The Milwaukee Fusion Center monitored a Facebook post regarding “70 cars with IL License Plates in a parking lot of a Kenosha grocery store with blacked out license plates.  KPD could not corroborate this threat either.  At 6:36pm they flagged a post of “75 people in roughly 50 cars left Milwaukee armed with heavy jackets, goggles, umbrellas, face shields and coolers were headed to Kenosha.  Meanwhile gathering all over Kenosha and heading there were far right militia members armed to the gills and talking about killing people in mass numbers that didn’t get the same amount of attention.

Around 90 minutes later an individual self-identifying himself as a “state officer” with the Three Percenters Original (TTPO) militant group reached out to coordinate with the Kenosha Guard.  “Hey Guys My name Is Paul Swick State Officer with the TTPO. We are trying to create a line of Communication with you guys. What kind of expected contingency you do {sic} have that will show up tonight in Kenosha”.

Shortly after, Mathewson would post a live stream to the Kenosha Guard page letting people know that he was at Civic Park.  Mathewson would run home before the curfew started.  The page would go quiet shortly after that.

At 7:00pm on the STAND UP KENOSHA page a user posted “Shoot to kill folks. Cause they won’t give you a second chance”  Throughout the evening members of the page would coordinate on the ground logistics with each other.

At 7:01pm a concerned citizen sent an email to multiple city council members including the Mayor John Antaramian stating “Hello Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, I am writing to bring up concern about a Facebook group “Kenosha Guard” and associated event on 8/25/2020.  This group is self-proclaimed militia group and is planning an event counter the peaceful protest (very different than the later out of towners looters and rioters. This event is not peaceful counter protest and is (self-proclaimed in numerous comments) a call to arms”.

This wasn’t the only concerned citizen that sent emails.  Emails and calls were coming into Kenosha Law Enforcement that day warning of militia groups forming and the style of comments that were being posted.  These individuals were told the pages were being monitored.  Individuals even started reporting the group, the event, and violent comments only to receive automated messages back from Facebook stating “This event was reviewed…it does not go against community standards”.  There would be a total of 455 complaints that Facebook received regarding the Kenosha Guard page which created 4 manual and numerous automated reviews of the event page by Facebook’s content moderators which all concluded it did not violate the company’s rules.  Interestingly enough just days before on Aug 19th 2020 an update was launched to the companies Dangerous Individuals and Organizations Policy explicitly forbids US based militia organizations that “have celebrated violent acts, shown that they have weapons and suggest they will use them, or have individual followers with patterns of violent behavior.  Mark Zuckerburg would go on to say that Facebook deleted the event, only this isn’t true.  According to internal documents the event created on the Kenosha Guard page was deleted by an Admin of the page on Aug 26th.  Facebook would remove the page itself later that day.

Sometime after 7:00pm, I happened to live stream the KPD Scanner where it can be heard that law enforcement had surrounded between 125-150 armed citizens and then magically lost them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1U4zjS0OIc&t=1190s

We know that there were at least two Kenosha County Sheriff’s tasked with monitoring the Kenosha Guard page as well as the Milwaukee Fusion Center.  Despite hundreds of violent comments being posted to the page throughout the day this information would not get shared with the FBI until 7:30pm and then shared internally with other FBI agents at 7:34pm and 7:39pm.  The Milwaukee Fusion Center or STAC (Southeastern Wisconsin Threat Analysis Center) was more focused chasing down rumors being posted to the pages of protestors in large car caravans rather than any of the posts highlighting violent acts or killing protestors.

At 8:00pm the IPAWS System sent out the curfew text.  Armed citizens and militia members would still be in the downtown area as well as throughout areas of the city.

At 9:40pm an officer texted “group with long guns and body armor no problems”.  Law enforcement via Exclusive Body Cam Video obtained by NSM through an open records request can be heard having friendly conversations with militia throughout the night and even allowing them to get within a few feet of the armored vehicles.  Even the US Marshals Service sent communication to one another about “pickup trucks full of armed people roving the neighborhood”.  The USMS indicated they did not intend to arrest those individuals because “Wisconsin is an open carry state”.  Despite under Wisconsin Law it is a felony for private paramilitary to perform in an official capacity.

During the Kyle Rittenhouse trial it was discussed that militia members gave rioters a choice “Stop climbing on cars or you’re going to be detained and handed over to the police”.  This wasn’t the first time I heard this.  Days after the shooting an anonymous source within the Kenosha Guard informed me that militia members pretending to be law enforcement were conducting snatch-and-grabs on protestors who were walking alone or in small groups and holding them on the ground until actual law enforcement arrived.

By 9:57pm law enforcement was still referring to militia as “very friendly”.  Prior to the infamous encounter with Joseph Rosenbaum there was a fight that broke out between militia and protestors in at the Ultimate Gas Station, individuals with Dominick Black on top of the roof of the 59th St. Car Source were pointing green lasers at protestors walking by, they even admitted to pointing their guns at them. 

Again, despite all of these things happening over the course of 13 hours, law enforcement would treat these armed citizens and militia members as allies even offering them water as they passed by.  Just before West Allis PD pushed protestors south down Sheridan Rd, Ryan Balch was talking to a police officer near the used-car lot he and Rittenhouse were guarding. As Balch recalled it—and Smith, his militia partner, confirmed—the officer told them, “Okay, we’re going to start pushing them down here soon, and it’ll be up to you guys.” Balch responded to her, “So you’re going to piss these people off and then push them at us and then leave?” The two men say that the female officer pulled away in a Kenosha Police Squad Car, an accusation that KPD will deny.

Interesting enough, shortly after Balch tells a reporter this, protestors are pushed south down Sheridan Rd just far enough to be face to face with waiting and agitated armed militia.  Via an open records request that NSM received an officer documents his time spent in Kenosha and writes “at the request of tactical command, the armored vehicles and crowd control officers would direct protestors south and hold or move the protestors south and back away north. Tactical command requested several times for this process to occur which led to the protestors being directed as far south as 60th & Sheridan”.

At 11:26pm an internal message from a Kenosha Joint Services employee comes in stating “caller reports armed counter protestors slashed tires.  Thirteen hours of aggressive behavior, threats of violence and death and it would all be ignored by law enforcement.

At around 11:45pm Kyle Rittenhouse would end up shooting and killing two individuals and critically wounding a third.  Later a Kenosha Joint Services employee would send a message stating “caller saying the guys at the gas station defending the gas station are included in the shooting”.  It’s interesting that the FBI drone they refer to as “The Plane” recorded the first shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum but nothing was transmitted over the radio regarding the first shooting.  Law Enforcement would have no idea that an armed citizen opened fire until after the second shooting incident when the crowd scattered and the West Allis Officers could see bodies lying in the road.

After the shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum more gun shots can be heard behind the 63rd St. Car Source location.  An anonymous source had informed NSM of a gun battle between militia members and protestors in Bain Park.  This would later be confirmed not only in a US Marshal document but also other documents received via open records requests.  We know there was at least one KPD Squad car and a Bearcat on 10th Ave at the time of the gun battle yet not a single militia member was detained or arrested.  Instead of militia being questioned or arrested by police at any point in the night, they were allowed to roam the streets freely, despite vast threats of violent behavior on social media and tensions rising on Sheridan Rd.  Even after the shootings, militia was seen driving in caravans and one group even exited their vehicles searching nearby areas with flashlights pointed at the ground searching for something.  This can be heard via the KPD Scanner.  A source confirmed militia members were searching the ground for bullet casings they fired.

Local and Federal Law Enforcement spent so much time focusing on social media rumors that pertained to protestors that they completely ignored every threat that came from far right militia and citizens gearing up ready for war.  Some would argue that law enforcement and militia were working together.  While that has yet to be proven the scant evidence of Ryan Balch stating law enforcement would push protestors south down Sheridan Rd along with a report written by a West Allis Police Officer do suggest it is possible the two groups were in collusion.  One piece of evidence that is extremely damning and highly suggests that law enforcement may very well have been working with militia groups throughout the 9 day unrest in Kenosha and has never been revealed to the public was discussed in an email that NSM received via an open records request.  The email dated Aug 31st 2020 came from a local journalist from the Kenosha News sent to Sheriff Beth.  The email states “Hi Sheriff Beth: Yesterday when I was at the rally to back the badge, the guy who runs the group that put it on said they had planned to do a rally for Trump at 8a.m. tomorrow, but was informed that the reason and he couldn’t was due to safety.  Apparently during yesterday’s rally, a guy from the command post (which is set up at Bradford) arrived at the scene to tell the organizer Kyle that they’re supposedly monitoring “armed militia” members who were on scene at the protests in Portland and Seattle.

Sheriff Beth would end up casually dismissing this question.


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