Monday, August 24, 2020

Kenosha Police Shoot Man; Video of Incident Appears to Show Officer Firing Several Shots Into His Back at Close Range

Meg Jones

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Kenosha police shot a man Sunday evening, setting off unrest in the city after a video appeared to show the officer firing several shots at close range into the man's back.

The shooting victim has been identified as Jacob Blake, a Black man, by Wisconsin officials. He was in serious condition at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee as of early Monday morning.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation said early Monday that the involved officers have been placed on administrative leave.

Police had been called to a domestic incident in the 2800 block of 40th Street at 5:11 p.m. where the shooting later occurred.

Officers provided immediate aid to the shooting victim, Kenosha police reported, and he was taken by Flight for Life to Froedtert.

“Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight," Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement. "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."

The Kenosha News reported that neighbors said Blake was trying to break up a fight between two women. Bystanders said he was Tased and then shot several times.

A video circulating on social media shows a man in a white shirt and black shorts walking to a gray van, followed by two male police officers with weapons drawn. The video does not show what happened before the man walked away from the officers, nor what was said, if anything.

As the man opens the door to get in, an officer grabs his shirt to hold him still, then appears to shoot him in the back at close range. Seven shots are heard, followed by a car horn, presumably from the man's head falling forward. A woman who followed behind the police can be seen screaming and jumping up and down.

Kenosha police requested Wisconsin State Patrol and Kenosha County Sheriff's deputies come to the scene because the shooting involved an officer. 

The Division of Criminal Investigation said in a news release early Monday morning that it will try to provide a report of the incident to the prosector within 30 days.

"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 release said. 

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, whom the Blake family has retained to represent them, shared a video from the incident on Twitter. He also said Blake's three sons were in the car when Blake was shot. 

"They saw a cop shoot their father," Crump tweeted. "They will be traumatized forever. We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us. Our kids deserve better!!"

Crump represents the family of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the knee of a fired Minneapolis police officer on Memorial Day. He also is backing the family of Joel Acevedo, who died after being put into a chokehold by an off-duty Milwaukee police officer at a party.

Large crowds soon gathered at the scene of the shooting, and protests and unrest, including several fires, continued into the early hours of Monday.

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