PEN America is calling for public authorities in Kenosha, WI to ensure protesters are safe and protected in the wake of Tuesday night’s fatal shooting and the arrest of an alleged shooter. PEN America’s Summer Lopez, senior director of free expression programs, said the following.”

“PEN America is appalled by the killing of two protesters, and the shooting of a third, in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The right to engage in public protest is enshrined in the First Amendment for a reason—in a democracy, it’s an essential tool for making our voices heard. Government authorities have a responsibility to ensure those rights are protected, and that protesters themselves are protected. These shootings demand a full investigation, and they demand that government leaders commit clearly and unequivocally to safeguarding the public’s right to engage in public protest.”

PEN America has previously documented critiqued lawmakers’ efforts to criminalize protest rights at the state level in the report Arresting Dissent: Legislative Restrictions on the Right to Protest. Read more here.