Scenes of looting and fires have been inescapable this summer as peaceful protests have given way to violence in cities across America, most recently in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after police shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times and left him paralyzed.
Those images hit home for some more than others. Pamela “Sue” Moniz watched her business, Sue and Keith’s Magical Mattress Store, burn to the ground in Kenosha on August 24. “We were watching on a live feed and could see the group—who I’m sure was not from this community—approaching our business in uptown and decided to get there as as quickly as we could to see what we could do to prevent any further loss, and they had already assaulted a dear friend who had also rushed to the scene,” Pamela Moniz The Dispatch.
Moniz found Robert Cobb, a friend who had helped out at the store for years, lying in a pool of his own blood. A very graphic video—that has now been viewed more than 2.9 million times on Twitter—showed that Cobb, who is 71, had tried to fend off rioters with a fire extinguisher. He fell to the ground quickly after he was assaulted from behind by a rioter who hit his head with a concrete-filled water bottle. The blow broke his jaw in two places and split open his nose, and he suffered severe bleeding from a laceration on his face. “I called 9-1-1 immediately and then I realized, just looking out, that they wouldn’t be able to get an ambulance there,” Moniz said. “I don’t know that they would even send an ambulance—just the mobs of people. So it took some very creative driving to even be able to get him to the hospital.”
“It’s so surreal, and it’s so indescribable, and it’s nothing that I hope anyone ever has to experience,” Moniz said.“But it’s something I’ll never forget.” Moniz said she wishes she could describe the feeling she got once she realized her business was burned down for good. “We were good to that community, and we helped that community, and we tried to take care of our neighbors,” she said. “And that’s why I know that this wasn’t done by anyone from our community.”