The shooting of a black man by Wisconsin police on Sunday night was captured on video, sparking immediate social media backlash, as well as protests and a state Department of Justice (DoJ) investigation. The man, identified as Jacob Blake, is in a serious condition in hospital.
A video posted online appears to show Blake being shot in the back as he tries to get into a car in the city of Kenosha. Authorities declared an emergency overnight curfew after protests broke out following the shooting. Last night, hundreds of people marched around police headquarters, chanting “we won’t back down.”
Officers from Kenosha Police Department responded to a domestic incident shortly after 5 in the afternoon and “were involved in an officer involved shooting.” Blake was airlifted to a Milwaukee hospital.
In a statement early this morning, Wisconsin DoJ said the officers involved in the shooting had been placed on administrative leave. The state’s Division of Criminal Investigation is heading up an investigation into the shooting and declared in a statement it will seek to “provide a report of the incident to the prosecutor within 30 days.”
Kenosha Police Department said the “officer involved shooting” happened shortly after 5 p.m. on Sunday. It added that officers had provided “immediate aid” to Blake, who was later taken to a hospital in Milwaukee.
Although it said police had been responding to a “domestic incident,” police gave no details about what exactly led to the shooting.
In a public safety alert, police urged 24-hour businesses to consider closing because of “numerous” calls about armed robberies and shots being fired. Police also deployed tear gas early Monday in an effort to disperse the crowd who took to the streets following the incident.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers condemned the shooting of Blake, who was reportedly unarmed. “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 said in a statement.
“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 recognise the racism in our state and our country for far too long,” the governor added.
As Blake’s name was trending on social media, thousands signed a petition calling for the officers involved to be charged. You can sign this petition here.