KENOSHA, Wis. — Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Wisconsin after a viral video showed Kenosha police shooting a black man in the back seven times.
The shooting happened around 5 p.m. Sunday, according to The Associated Press. Officers responded to a reported domestic incident. A video from the scene shows officers following the man, who was identified by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers as Jacob Blake, with their weapons drawn as Blake opens the door of an SUV, to check on his three sons who were in the back seat. At least one officer could be seen firing several shots at the man’s back.
Kenosha police said in a news release issued early Monday that Blake was flown to a Milwaukee hospital in serious condition after the shooting.
“Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin,” Evers said in a statement late on Sunday. “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.”
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Blake’s family, said Blake was shot in front of his three sons.
“Blake was helping to deescalate a domestic incident when police drew their weapons and tasered him,” Crump said. “As he was walking away to check on his children, police fired their weapons several times into his back at point blank range. Blake’s three sons were only a few feet away and witnessed police shoot their father.”
“They saw a cop shoot their father,” Crump said. “They will be traumatized forever.”
The shooting sparked protests, with some people setting cars on fire and smashing windows. Social media posts showed neighbors gathering in the nearby streets and shouting at police. Some could be heard chanting, “No justice, no peace!” Others appeared to throw objects at officers and damage police vehicles.
Officers fired tear gas to disperse the crowds.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting with the help of the Wisconsin State Patrol and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office, Kenosha police said.
The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave while authorities investigate the incident.
A friend said it was one of the boys’ birthdays.
Blake is currently fighting for his life. Send prayers up for him.
UPDATE: Others who live in Blake’s North Kenosha neighborhood said the father of four was trying to break up a fight between two women near his apartment when police showed up.
One witness, who did not want his name used but said he had an unobstructed view of the events leading to the shooting, said Blake pushed past police and that’s when they struck him with Tasers.
“He didn’t even flinch,” the witness said. “He just kept walking.”
Blake tried to climb into his car, that’s when a police officer grabbed him, the witness said.
“They start to wrestle,” the witness said. “The officer is punching on him. Two officers come to assist. They get him down on the curb behind his vehicle. Somehow he manages to get up. They said he has a knife. All of the officers pull out their guns. … (One of the officers) tells him, ‘Get out of the car!’ and he starts shooting.”
The witness said he never saw a knife.
The witness said Blake lay on the ground in full view of his girlfriend and his young children.
“I thought he was dead. Then he sat in an ambulance for 20 minutes right here,” the man said. “It was just like they were expecting him to die.”
Neighbors described Blake as a loving father of four who worked as a security guard. They said he’s lived in the neighborhood for about a year.