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Kenosha, WI: Community rallies for justice for Clyde McLemore

By Michael Nelson |
April 25, 2021
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Kenosha protest demands drop the charges against Clyde McLemore.
Kenosha protest demands drop the charges against Clyde McLemore. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Kenosha, WI - On the morning of April 23, despite the aggressive posturing of an entire building of public officials, community members gathered in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse in support of Clyde McLemore on his first court date. McLemore is a Black liberation activist from Lake County, Illinois who played a significant role in the uprising in Kenosha after the attempted murder of Jacob Blake by racist cop Rusten Sheskey. McLemore’s impact on the community was made clear by the comments made about him by those who attended the rally.

“I’m here as a protester. I’m here as a community member. I’m here as a Black woman standing in support of Clyde because he would be standing here for me and he would be standing here for everybody else,” said Elizabeth Webb from My Sister’s House, a domestic violence prevention non-profit in the Kenosha area.

As if to clarify the contrasts in the Kenosha legal system, former alderman and current Nazi Kevin Mathewson also made an appearance that day. Mathewson, the self-appointed leader of the Kenosha Guard, an armed group of modern-day Klan members, was largely responsible for the call to action that brought killer Kyle Rittenhouse to Kenosha last August. He came out long enough to take video of the event for his YouTube page before returning to the protection of his friends at the Kenosha Police Department. Mathewson, an accomplice to the violent murders of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and in the permanent injury of Gaige Grosskreutz, spends time at the courthouse without any fear of prosecution despite the evidence against him.

Compare the situation of Kevin Mathewson to that of Clyde McLemore. McLemore, a founding member of the Black Lives Matter-Lake County Chapter, is suffering the consequences of being an important figure in the Black community. He’s facing bogus charges fabricated from a Facebook post. McLemore is accused of attempted battery of a police officer (felony) and disorderly conduct (misdemeanor), allegedly stemming from the protest at the Kenosha Public Safety Building on August 24, 2020.

Just a day in between, the Rittenhouse and McLemore cases might as well be held on different planets. Judge Schroeder, the one presiding over McLemore’s case, boasts an 80% increase in convictions and openly denounces people exercising their right to peacefully protest. McLemore’s case is also subject to the will of biased judicial appointees.

“I am also hoping that Clyde’s lawyer asks for his judge to be changed because we know that Schroeder has publicly made many comments on how he feels about protesters and how he feels about protests,” said Tanya McLean, an organizer from Leaders of Kenosha. “He sits on a bench that was founded on our rights in this country and we have a right to express ourselves and yet he doesn’t like that so that speaks to his mind, his character, and how he feels about what’s going on in our community and [to] Black and brown people.”

McLemore’s next day in court is set for sometime in May. The Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, the host of the solidarity action, intends to continue to support him until the trumped-up charges are dropped and his record is expunged.

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