Video shows Wisconsin police shoot man in back, unrest follows

Midwest

Wisconsin's governor called in the National Guard and county officials announced a curfew for Monday night.

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KENOSHA, Wis. (NewsNation) — Protests and unrest broke out in Kenosha, Wisconsin after a social media video appeared to show officers shoot at a Black man’s back multiple times as he leaned into a vehicle.

The man in the video, identified as Jacob Blake by Gov. Tony Evers (D-Wis.), was shot Sunday evening and hospitalized in serious condition, according to Kenosha police. Blake was still in serious condition as of Monday afternoon.

Evers said in his statement “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.”

The shooting happened at around 5 p.m. Sunday and was captured from across the street on cellphone video that was posted online.

The video posted on social media appeared to show three officers pointing their guns at the man as he walked around the front of an SUV parked on the street. As the man opened the driver’s side door and leaned inside, one officer grabbed his shirt from behind and then fired into the vehicle.

The footage appeared to capture seven shots, though it was unclear if more than one officer fired.

Police were responding to a “domestic incident” at the time of the shooting, the Kenosha Police Department said in a news release. Police did not provide details about what led to the shooting or the officers involved, but said the person was transported to a hospital in Milwaukee for treatment.

“Law enforcement immediately provided medical aid to the person who was shot. Flight for Life transported the person to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. The person is in serious condition,” the agency said in a statement.

 Evers said 125 members of the National Guard would be in Kenosha by night with responsibility for “guarding infrastructure and making sure our firefighters and others involved are protected.” County authorities also announced an 8 p.m. curfew.

In the unrest that followed Sunday night, social media posts showed people gathering in the surrounding streets and shouting at police. Some could be heard chanting, “No justice, no peace!” Others appeared to throw objects at officers, smash windows, set cars on fire and damage police vehicles.

In a scene that mirrored the widespread protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people killed or in police custody, marchers headed to the Kenosha County Public Safety Building, which houses the police and sheriff’s departments. Authorities mostly blocked off the building, which was closed on Monday because of damage, authorities said.

The Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation and the officers involved have been put on administrative leave, which is standard practice in a shooting by police, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

“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,” the agency said in a statement.

Online court records indicate Kenosha County prosecutors charged Blake on July 6 with third-degree sexual assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse. An arrest warrant was issued for Blake the following day. The records contain no further details and do not list an attorney for Blake.

Pete Deates, president of the Kenosha police union, released a statement. “As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident,” he said. “We ask that you withhold from passing judgment until all the facts are known and released.”

The city of Kenosha is located on Lake Michigan, about 40 miles south of Milwaukee.

This is a developing story.


Full Wisconsin Department of Justice Statement

The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is investigating an officer involved shooting (OIS) in Kenosha, Wis. that occurred on the evening of Sunday, August 23, 2020.

The shooting occurred when Kenosha police officers responded to a reported domestic incident in the 2800 block of 40th Street.

Law enforcement immediately provided medical aid to the person who was shot. Flight for Life transported the person to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. The person is in serious condition.

DCI is leading this investigation and is assisted by Wisconsin State Patrol and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office. All involved law enforcement are fully cooperating with DCI during this investigation. The involved officers have been placed on administrative leave.

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.

If members of the public have any further information regarding this incident, please contact law enforcement.

When DCI is the lead investigating agency of a shooting involving a law enforcement officer, DCI aims to provide a report of the incident to the prosecutor within 30 days. The prosecutor then reviews the report and makes a determination about what charges, if any, are appropriate. If the prosecutor determines there is no basis for prosecution of the law enforcement officer, DCI will thereafter make the report available to the public.

There has been speculation on social media about the identities of those involved in this incident. The public is advised to await identifying information from an official source.

No additional details are currently available.

Please direct all media inquiries regarding this incident to DOJ.

Wisconsin Department of Justice Statement

Full statement from the Wisconsin’s governor

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.

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.

And we stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.

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.

Gov. Tony Evers (D-Wis.) on Twitter

Kenosha Police Department statement

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WGN contributed tot his report.

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