A Black man is hospitalized in serious condition after being shot Sunday by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in an incident captured on viral video that has sparked protests.
The video appears to show police aiming guns at a man who is walking away from two officers. When the man opens the driver’s side door to a vehicle and appears to lean inside, at least seven gunshots are heard.
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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers confirmed the identity of the man who suffered the gunshot wounds as Jacob Blake. Evers said in a statement that Blake “was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight,” and said he hopes “he will not succumb to his injuries.”
Attorney Benjamin Crump told CNN that Blake’s family had contacted him. On Twitter, Crump wrote that Blake’s three sons were inside the car when their father was shot.
“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!!” Crump wrote.
A statement from Kenosha police says the shooting occurred after officers responded to a domestic incident, but gives no further details. The Kenosha News reports at least six witnesses said the man had tried to break up a fight between two women, and that police had tried to use a Taser on him before the shooting.
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According to the Kenosha police statement, the officers “immediately provided medical aid to the person who was shot,” who is in “serious condition.”
“DCI is continuing to review evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to a prosecutor following a complete and thorough investigation,” said police.
The governor, in his statement, expressed horror at the footage.
“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,” said Evers.
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“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,” added Evers. “And we stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.”
Concluded Evers: “I have said all along that although we must offer our empathy, equally important is our action. In the coming days, we will demand just that of elected officials in our state who have failed to recognize the racism in our state and our country for far too long.”
The shooting sparked protests captured on social media, some of which turned destructive. Kenosha County implemented an emergency curfew.
The county courthouse remained closed on Monday “due to damage sustained during last night’s civil unrest,” the county government announced.
Pete Deates, president of the Kenosha Professional Police Association, issued this statement: “Anytime deadly force is used, our hearts go out to those affected by it. We assure you an independent investigation is being conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation.
“Until that investigation is completed, we ask that you withhold prejudgment about the incident and please the let process take place. Governor Evers’ statement on the incident was wholly irresponsible and not reflective of the hardworking members of the law enforcement community, not to mention the citizens of the City of Kenosha.
“As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident. We ask that you withhold from passing judgement until all the facts are known and released.
“We, along with the citizens of the great City of Kenosha, ask for peace and to let the process play out fairly and impartially.”
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
•Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
•ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
•National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.