Facebook has finally taken down a ‘Kenosha Guard’ page with 3,000 members that rallied ‘patriots to take up arms and defend our city tonight from the evil thugs’.
The social media giant on Wednesday launched an investigation into the group after it promoted an event encouraging armed civilians to take to the streets to defend the city Tuesday.
Facebook initially failed to take action against the militia group Tuesday night saying it was not breaking its rules, despite admitting at least one Facebook user had reported the group to the company.
The apparent backtracking in the decision comes after a 17-year-old gunman has been arrested for the murder of two Black Lives Matter protesters who had gathered in the city demanding justice over the shooting of black man Jacob Blake.
Blake was shot seven times in the back Sunday by a Wisconsin cop and left paralyzed as his three young children watched from inside his car.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to The Verge Wednesday an investigation was underway into activity on its platform following the fatal shootings by police-obsessed gunman and Trump supporter Kyle Rittenhouse Tuesday night.
The ‘Kenosha Guard’ group and an event promoted by it called ‘Armed Citizens to Protect our Lives and Property’ have been taken down, they confirmed.
Screen grabs of the event revealed it made a call to arms to ‘defend our city’ from protesters denouncing police brutality and institutional racism.
‘Any patriots willing to take up arms and defend our city tonight from the evil thugs?’ the event post read.
‘No doubt they are currently planning on the next part of the city to burn tonight.’
The page had gained more than 3,000 members before it was removed.
In a statement to The Verge, Facebook confirmed it had deleted the group for violating its policy against militia organizations.
However, it said no evidence had so far been found linking alleged killer Rittenhouse to the group or event.
‘At this time, we have not found evidence on Facebook that suggests the shooter followed the Kenosha Guard Page or that he was invited on the Event Page they organized,’ the company said.
‘However, the Kenosha Guard Page and their Event Page violated our new policy addressing militia organizations and have been removed on that basis.’
Facebook also branded Rittenhouse’s actions a ‘mass murder’ and said his accounts have also been removed from both the platform and company-owned platform Instagram.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Facebook for clarification over why it waited to remove the group and event.
A member of Kenosha Guard also issued a statement saying it was unaware if the shooter had any connection to the group or ‘was answering the Kenosha Guard Militia’s call to arms.’
‘Just like with the shooting of Jacob Blake, we need all the facts and evidence to come out before we make a judgement. God Bless and stay safe Kenosha!’ the statement said.
Questions are being asked over Facebook’s delay in taking action against the group after multiple social media users complained to the platform Tuesday it was inciting violence against protesters, according to The Verge.
At least two separate Facebook users had warned the social media giant hours before the deadly shooting and were told by moderators the group and event was not in violation of company policy.
One anonymous person told The Verge she reported the event Tuesday and was told by Facebook moderators that it did not violate the company’s policy but that certain comments could be reported for inciting violence.
She told the outlet she reported a comment threatening to put nails in the tires of protesters’ cars but was again told it did not break policy.
Another Facebook user reported the event and was given a similar response that the content did not violate the platform’s community standards, The Verge reported.
‘I felt it had the possibility to end in violence, and it did,’ he said.
A message responding to one person’s complaint and obtained by The Verge simply suggests ways for the individual to ‘avoid things you don’t want to see on Facebook’ such as unfriending or unfollowing the page.
In the hours between Facebook receiving warnings about the call to arms and refusing to take it down and the social media giant removing the event and group from the platform, Rittenhouse had taken to the streets armed with an AR-15 and allegedly shot dead two protesters.
The page was taken down nine hours after the shooting.
Horrifying cellphone videos from Tuesday night captured the moments the gunman shot three victims.
One victim was seen to be shot in the head, another in the chest and another in the arm.
Rittenhouse was caught on camera running away in the moments after the gunshots rang out saying: ‘I’ve just killed somebody’.
He is then seen appearing to surrender to cops, walking towards police vehicles with his hands in the air as other protesters yelled at the cops to arrest him, claiming he’d just shot two people.
However, police did not arrest the white teenager.
Protesters desperately tried to provide medical assistance to the victims but it was later confirmed that a 26-year-old Silver Lake, Wisconsin, resident and a 36-year-old from Kenosha died in the attack.
The person wounded in the arm, a 36-year-old from West Allis, Wisconsin, is expected to survive.
On Wednesday afternoon police arrested 17-year-old Rittenhouse and charged him with first degree intentional homicide.
In Wisconsin, it is illegal for people under 18 to own a gun.
It emerged that Rittenhouse sat front row at a Trump rally earlier this year and is an avid Blue Lives Matter activist who boasted about his role as a vigilante before the shootings.
The deadly shooting took place on the third night of protests in the Wisconsin city, which erupted following the latest in a string of incidents where black men and women have been killed or seriously injured by cops across America.
Black father-of-six Blake, 29, was shot seven times in the back by a white Kenosha cop Sunday evening in front of his three young children.
Officers had been responding to a 911 call from Blake’s girlfriend reporting ‘that her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises.’
Cops tried to subdue him with a taser before one opened fire shooting him seven times in the back in the doorway of his vehicle.
Blake’s family said the 29-year-old has been left paralyzed.
On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Attorney General identified the cop that fired all seven shots as Officer Rusten Sheskey – a seven-year veteran of the force.
Sheskey and all other cops involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.
The AG said a knife was recovered from Blake’s vehicle after the shooting and claim he was reaching for the knife or it fell from his hand when he was riddled with bullets by the cop.
However it is unclear if Blake had the knife on him when he was talking to police.
Thousands have taken to the streets demanding justice and calling for an end to police brutality and racism – reigniting demonstrations that have taken place since May following the ‘murder’ of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop.