Angry protests have erupted in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after the police shooting of 29-year-old Black male Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back multiple times at point-blank range as he attempted to get into his car.
Police in tactical gear and armored SWAT vehicles were deployed Sunday night as community protesters took to the streets in a spontaneous eruption of rage following the cold-blooded shooting of the young man after a domestic incident call.
According to witnesses, Blake was trying to break up a verbal altercation between two women roughly after 5 p.m. on Sunday afternoon before officers arrived at the scene and quickly proceeded to fire seven shots at him while he attempted to board the driver-side of his vehicle.
In a tweet, civil rights attorney Ben Crump said that Blake’s three children were in the car when the officers opened fire on their father. Crump represents the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, among other high-profile victims of police violence and racist vigilantism.
“They saw a cop shoot their father,” Crump wrote. “They will be traumatized forever.”
Confirmed: Jacob Blake’s 3 SONS were IN THE CAR he was getting into when @KenoshaPolice shot him tonight. They saw a cop shoot their father. They will be traumatized forever. We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us. Our kids deserve better!! #JusticeForJacobBlake
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) August 24, 2020
Blake remains in serious condition and in the intensive care unit at a Minneapolis-area hospital, reports Kenosha News.
“He is out of surgery and in the ICU,” tweeted family friend Daniel Poneman. “He can make it through this. He is fighting for his life.”
Authorities have been swift in their moves to prevent the situation from escalating, with the state’s governor denouncing the shooting and police responding swiftly to prevent community anger from reaching a boiling-point.
WARNING: Police fire several shots at point blank range towards the back of an unarmed Black man walking away and into a car in #Kenosha Wisconsin. Neighbors report that he was trying to break up a fight between 2 women. Why the use of lethal force? pic.twitter.com/Y0RWQ1y9Jn
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) August 24, 2020
In a statement issued after cellphone video of the shooting began going viral on social media, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said:
“Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kathy and I join his family, friends, and neighbors in hoping earnestly that he will not succumb to his injuries.”
“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 added. “We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity, and accountability for Black lives in our country—lives like those of George Floyd, of Breonna Taylor, Tony Robinson, Dontre Hamilton, Ernest Lacy, and Sylville Smith.”
Within hours of the shooting of Blake, hundreds of local residents began protesting for Blake and conveged on the Kenosha County Public Safety Building while chanting, “No justice, no peace!”
Marching protesters were joined by a caravan of cars honking as they made their way to the police station. After Kenosha police arrived at the scene in armored SWAT vehicles, clad in tactical gear and equipped with riot munitions and less-lethal arms, the community demonstrations took a violent turn and clashes erupted between combative protesters and the officers.
Video from the scene shows Kenosha police using tear gas against demonstrators:
Officers deployed tear gas in effort to disperse hundreds of people who took to the streets following police shooting in Kenosha after video appeared to show officers shoot at a Black man seven times as he leaned into a vehicle. https://t.co/Q3Fo0flhCE pic.twitter.com/XgDX8Wu9gz
— ABC News (@ABC) August 24, 2020
During the protest, some incidents of property damage took place. Several cars in an auto dealership were set on fire, reports Fox News.
An officer was also knocked down with a brick amid skirmishes between police and angry community members.
Footage of officer getting knocked out with a brick in Kenosha. pic.twitter.com/zZYypCgyja
— Nick 🚩🏴 (@BotchlaUS) August 24, 2020
The broad-daylight shooting of Blake in the Lake Michigan-area city threatens to rekindle the weeks of explosive nationwide unrest that resulted from the May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police.
Kenosha lies about 40 miles south of Milwaukee and is roughly an hour’s drive north from Chicago.