State Watch

Protests erupt in Wisconsin after Black man shot in back by police

Protests erupted in Kenosha, Wis., on Sunday night after video surfaced showing a city police officer shooting a Black man several times as he attempted to enter his vehicle.

The demonstrations came as state officials announced they were investigating the incident and as Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) called for further accountability for law enforcement. 

“While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country,” Evers said in a statement. “We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity, and accountability for Black lives in our country.” 

Evers identified the person who had been shot as Jacob Blake. The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement that he was transported to a hospital in Milwaukee, where he is in serious condition. Blake had surgery and is currently in an intensive care unit, TMJ4 reported

The shooting happened Sunday evening after officers from the Kenosha Police Department responded to a report of a “domestic incident,” the Wisconsin DOJ said. 

Video captured by a witness showed Blake walking around an SUV on the side of a street as two officers trailed him with their firearms pointed in his direction. After Blake opened the driver’s side door and leaned into the vehicle, an officer fired his weapon seven times as he grabs Blake’s shirt, the clip shows. 

The Wisconsin DOJ is investigating the incident with the Wisconsin State Patrol and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office.

Several witnesses told The Kenosha News police arrived after Blake tried to break up a fight between two women and that officers first attempted to use a taser on him. Witnesses told the newspaper Blake was unarmed. 

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said in a tweet that Blake’s three sons were in the car that he entered at the time of the shooting. Police have not issued a statement on what transpired before the shooting. 

In the hours after the video first surfaced on social media, people began gathering near the area where Blake was shot, according to reports. Some shouted “No justice, no peace” at officers on the scene and others damaged police vehicles, The Associated Press reported

A crowd then marched to the Kenosha County Public Safety Building, which houses the city police department’s headquarters. Protesters were reportedly met outside the building by police in riot gear. 

The city also issued a state of emergency declaration until 7 a.m. Monday. The declaration included an advisory for 24-hour businesses to close because of “numerous armed robberies and shots fired calls.” 

The protests in Kenosha come amid a year in which demonstrations speaking out against racial injustice and police brutality have swept the nation. Protests erupted in cities throughout the U.S. following the May 25 death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for roughly 9 minutes. 

Protesters took to the streets in Louisiana over the weekend as well after Lafayette police officers fatally shot a 31-year-old Black man outside a convenience store. State officials announced on Saturday they were investigating the incident. 

UPDATED 2:15 p.m.

Tags police shooting Racial protests Tony Evers Wisconsin

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