A black man was shot in the back by police officers in the city of Kenosha in Wisconsin, USA on August 24 sparking protests in the city. 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot multiple times by police officers as he tried to get inside of an SUV from the driver's side.
Cell phone footage of the incident shows Blake emerging from the passenger side of the car and going around to the driver's side as two police officers follow him. Blake opens the door only for a police officer to pull him by his shirt with one hand. Seven gunshots can be heard as onlookers scream.
According to his attorney Ben Crump, Blake was trying to deescalate a domestic situation when police officers tasered him. Blake's three children were in the car when police officers shot their father. Crump also represents George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor whose deaths have brought police brutality and racism back into the spotlight in the US.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a black man died after a police officer knelt on Floyd's neck for almost eight minutes. Floyd's death triggered protests across the US and the world. Floyd's death and subsequent protests led to calls for US police departments to be defunded.
Floyd's death also brought into the spotlight Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery's deaths. Taylor, 26, was killed when Louisville police officers entered her apartment on March 13 and exchanged fire with Taylor's boyfriend. Taylor was shot eight times in the process.
Arbery was shot dead by a former police officer and his son on February 23. Arbery, 25, was jogging in a Brunswick neighbourhood in Georgia when Gregory McMichael and his son Travis chased Arbaury and fatally shot him after a short struggle with Travis.
The video below is graphic in nature. Viewer discretion is advised.
The Kenosha police department said in a release that Blake was taken to a hospital in Milwaukee where his condition was said to be serious. In a later statement, the police said that officers were responding to a domestic situation which later led to Blake's shooting.
Jacob's grandfather, also named Jacob Blake, was a local civil rights leader in Evanston, Illinois and fought for providing low-income houses in the community according to the Chicago Tribune. Following his death, an affordable housing unit for senior citizens was named the Jacob Blake Manor.
Jacob's uncle Justin Blake told the Chicago Tribune that his nephew had moved from Evanston to Kenosha as he felt it was a safer location and he could try to build a better life there.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul refused to say whether any guns were found in Blake's possession or how many police officers were involved in his shooting.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating Blake's shooting. While the police officers who were involved in the shooting have not been named, Kenosha police have said that two officers have been placed on administrative leave.
Following the shooting, protests broke out in the city with protestors marching on to the Kenosha County Public Safety Building, according to AP. Protestors faced off against police dressed in in riot gear including riot shields. A police officer was hit on the head with a brick by protestors and is currently recovering.
CNN reports that several buildings and vehicles were set on fire by protestors who defied the 8 pm curfew imposed by the city. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has deployed the Wisconsin National Guard to Kenosha to help police in containing the protests. The city was placed in curfew till 7 am on Tuesday.
Jacob's uncle Justin urged protestors to not turn violent and told CNN, "After talking to his mother, she and my brother are asking people in Kenosha and around the nation to protest, but protest not violently. We want justice, and we're going to get justice. We're going to demand justice. But we're going to do that without tearing apart our community."
Following the protest, the Kenosha County Courthouse and Administration building has been closed on Monday and Tuesday after allegedly sustaining damage.
Police officers in Kenosha are not equipped with body cameras, a staple in many police departments across the US. Kenosha mayor John Ataramian said that the police department is scheduled to receive body cameras by 2022. While police squad cars do have video cameras, it is not clear if they captured officers shooting Blake.
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