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Kenosha Erupts After Police Shoot Jacob Blake in the Back

Kenosha Youtube Screenshot

“Jacob Blake’s 3 SONS were IN THE CAR he was getting into when Kenosha Police shot him tonight. They saw a cop shoot their father. They will be traumatized forever.”

Unrest erupted in Kenosha, Wisconsin after police shot a black man named Jacob Blake seven times in the back. Video of the shooting went viral on social media and led to people taking to the street demanding justice.

In a statement, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said, “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.”

According to media reports, Blake was taken to the ICU for surgery and a friend said that he is “expected to make it” as of early Monday morning.

In the Kenosha Police Department’s statement, they said they were responding to a “domestic incident” and the officers were “involved in an officer involved shooting”.

Witnesses told Kenosha News that Blake was trying to break up a fight between two women before the shooting happened. Witnesses also said Blake’s children were in the car Blake was walking back to when the police fired seven shots into his back.

Civil rights advocate and lawyer Ben Crump tweeted, “Jacob Blake’s 3 SONS were IN THE CAR he was getting into when Kenosha Police 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!!”

Street Action

In response to the shooting, frustrated citizens began protesting and demonstrating against the Kenosha Police. One Kenosha police officer was hit with a brick, and police responded with tear gas after a small fire was started outside the Kenosha Courthouse.

Clouds of tear gas and small fires could be seen early in the night, and the police declared an unlawful assembly.

Livestream footage showed a car dealership close to the police precinct erupt in fire with most of the cars in the lot ablaze. Citizens also targeted the courthouse before being repelled by police officers in riot gear.

Kenosha police issued a curfew at 10:15 PM until 7 AM Monday.

The uprising in Kenosha comes off the back of months on antiracist protests across the nation in response to police brutality and violence. Many communities have been hit with police violence and abuse after protesting in the streets in response to the police killing of George Floyd and other local incidents.

Far from the First

Much like Minneapolis, police in Wisconsin have also faced increased scrutiny for their past actions in response to the latest protests.

One of the highest-profile cases in the state involves officer Joseph Mensah of the Wauwatosa Police Department. Mensah shot and killed three people in 2015 and 2016 while working as a police officer.

Under pressure from the families of the victims and a national wave of protest, Mensah was suspended without pay five years after he first killed a civilian.

Another high-profile case is that of Dontre Hamilton, a black man with mental health issues who was gunned down by police in 2014 in Milwaukee. Hamilton’s family later sued the Milwaukee Police Department and received a settlement in 2017.

The shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha police is one of many that has caused local anger with police departments after the death of George Floyd.

On Friday night, Louisiana State Police shot and killed Trayford Pellerin, a black man, after he walked away from police officers.

Residents in Lafayette, where Pellerin was killed, protested in the streets over the weekend.  On Sunday night, police officers told protesters they would be met with chemical deterrents if they refused to disband.

Alec Pronk

Alec is a freelance writer with an interest in both geopolitics and American domestic issues. He finished his Master's degree with a critical focus on government counterterrorism policies.

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