- Members of Riot Kitchen, an organization that provides free meals to protesters based in Seattle, were arrested in Kenosha on Wednesday, NBC News reported.
- Nine people were arrested for disorderly conduct by the Kenosha Police Department and US Marshals after they received a tip about “several suspicious vehicles without of state plates,” authorities said.
- The crew members were released on Friday on bond. Riot Kitchen released a statement highlighting that they were not in Kenosha to “incite violence” and that the organization “has always been and will always be about feeding people.”
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Volunteers from Seattle who were handing out food to Kenosha protesters were detained by police on Wednesday, NBC reported.
Video of the incident was posted online by Riot Kitchen — an organization based in Seattle that serves free meals to protesters during demonstrations— shows crew members getting arrested by authorities in “unmarked vans,” according to the August 26 Twitter post.
Nine volunteers were arrested for disorderly conduct by Kenosha Police Department and US Marshals after they received “a citizen tip” about “several suspicious vehicles with out of state plates” in the area, authorities said in a statement.
Law enforcement located the vehicles in question; a black school bus, bread truck, and tan minivan with out of state license plates, according to the statement. Authorities followed the vehicles to a local gas station where they watched as the volunteers fill up “multiple fuel cans,” the statement said.
According to the statement, authorities suspected the individuals in the three vehicles “were preparing for criminal activity related to the civil unrest” which erupted in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the shooting of Jacob Blake on August 23.
“The officers exited their vehicles, identified themselves, were wearing appropriate identification, and then detained the occupants of the bus and bread truck,” the statement said. “The minivan attempted to drive away; however, Kenosha Police stopped this vehicle and ultimately forced entry to the minivan and arrested the occupants.”
According to the statement, police found “helmets, gas masks, protective vests, illegal fireworks, and suspected controlled substances.”
Jennifer Scheurle of Riot Kitchen’s board of directors told NBC News, “We’ve never had fireworks anywhere.”
Scheurle also told the outlet that the organization and volunteers “were not there to stir up anything.”
“We just want to feed people,” Scheurle told NBC News. “We support protesters of any kind.”
According to NBC, the nine volunteers were released on bond with the help of donations from the community.
The organization, that started during Seattle’s George Floyd protests in May, clarified that their purpose was not to “incite violence.”
Just a quick update from the crew.
Everyone is safe and looked after. pic.twitter.com/DDN1DbkcxO
— riotkitchen206 (@riotkitchen206) August 29, 2020
“We reject all claims that our crew was there to incite violence or build explosives —our non-profit organization has always been and will always be about feeding people,” Riot Kitchen wrote in a Friday statement. “Our crew was arrested by officers who did not identify themselves with drawn guns. Our volunteers were thrown into holding cells and kept for hours without water or blankets and denied phone calls to their loved ones. All crew members have been released and are safe.”