Evers Declares State of Emergency, Deploys National Guard After Jacob Blake Police Confrontation
“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.”
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers responded to this week’s Black Lives Matter catalyst by declaring a national emergency and summoning the National Guard. Even as he did so, the governor tweeted his support for the family of Jacob Blake, who “was shot in the back multiple times, board daylight,” by Kenosha, Wis., police Sunday evening.
“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 tweeted.
He added that “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.”
Even so, Evens was compelled to deploy National Guardsmen in the wake of rioting, looting, and arson, Reuters reported.
“There remains a line between peaceful assembly and what we saw last night that put individuals, families, and businesses in danger,” the governor declared.
On Monday night, “dozens of buildings” were decimated in the chaos, Mike Householder and Scott Bauer reported for The Associated Press.
Blake’s Mother Pleas for Peace
Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, implored Kenosha to calm down as the family looks for justice via the legal system, ABC 7 Chicago reported.
“I am really asking and encouraging everyone in Wisconsin and abroad to take a moment and examine your hearts,” Jackson said. “Please let’s begin to pray for healing for our nation. We are the United States. Have we been united?”
Jacob Blake, Sr. called the alleged police assault on his son a “senseless attempted murder.”
“They shot my son seven times, seven times,” Blake, Sr. said. “Like he didn’t matter. My son matters. He’s a human being and he matters.”
Legal representation for the family, the Ben Crump law firm, announced that while Blake is in stable condition in ICU, he is paralyzed below his waist, an injury that will possibly leave him unable to walk again.
“Blake was helping to deescalate a domestic incident when police drew their weapons and tasered him. As he was walking away to check on his children, police fired their weapons several times into his back at point blank range. Blake’s three sons were only a few feet away and witnessed police shoot their father,” the legal firm said in a statement issued via Twitter.
Video Shows Confrontation
Body cam footage was not available as the Kenosha Police Department and city administration reportedly have been grappling with the cost of implementing the technology, The Associated Press reported. The equipment was unanimously agreed upon in 2017, giving Kenosha three years to settle cost issues.
“This is a tragedy. But at least some good could come from this if this is finally the incident where Kenosha says, ‘we’ve got to get body cameras on these cops right away’,” said former city councilman Kevin Mathewson.
Although body cam footage is nonexistent, a video of the confrontation between Blake and police was uploaded to YouTube. The video depicts Blake on the ground with police surrounding him. He then rises and walks to the other side of a nearby car.
Shots then ring out as Blake has his back turned to officers while he approaches the the driver’s side of the automobile.
Ben Crump of the Crump law firm tweeted that Blake had been “breaking up a fight between two women” before he was shot.
High Profile Reactions
President Donald Trump called upon Evers to mobilize the National Guard to restore order and “End problem FAST!” However, he did not weigh in on either side as of the time of this publication.
His opponent, Democratic candidate and former vice president Joe Biden, said “Today we woke to grieve yet again,” the morning after Blake’s confrontation with police. He asked for a “full and transparent investigation” and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, echoed the appeal.
“Jacob, our nation is praying for you and your entire family.”
Blake’s cause also found support in basketball superstar Lebron James who tweeted his support in favor of the Blake. The Detroit Lions also cancelled their practice on Wednesday, declaring “Football is not important today after what happened over the weekend to Jacob Blake,” CBS News reported.
The Kenosha Police Department issued a statement that the Wisconsin Department of Justice and Division of Criminal Investigation will open an inquiry on the incident and the officer who allegedly shot Blake.