Jacob Blake was paralyzed by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Aug. 23. (Courtesy photo)
Jacob Blake was paralyzed by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Aug. 23. (Courtesy photo)

A police shooting Aug. 23 re-kindled angry protests throughout the nation this week after an unarmed Kenosha, Wis. Black man’s apparent attempt to settle a squabble left him paralyzed from the waist down from police bullets.
Protests over the shooting, in front of the man’s three small children, left buildings and businesses destroyed and displaced residents in the small, industrial town by mid-week.
Meanwhile, demonstrators gathered in Los Angeles, New York City, triggered arrests in Minneapolis, Minn., Seattle, Wash. and Portland, Ore. and the Wisconsin National Guard was called to quell unrest in Kenosha and Madison, the state capitol.
The latest incident of police-involved shooting occurred in the early evening in that aging industrial city of nearly 100,000 residents– about 10 percent of whom identify as African American—in the southeastern corner of the state.
Video footage of the shooting of Jacob Blake –including the sound of seven gunshots–flooded social media and immediately drew outrage. Protestors took to the streets as news accounts of the shooting revealed the dubious and callous nature in which officers opened fire as Blake approached the driver’s side of his vehicle where the three young children were passengers.
Seven times Blake was struck by the gunfire, Blake’s family attorney Ben Crump stated. Blake was airlifted to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, where, at press time, he’s listed in critical condition.
Crump said Blake had been at the scene as a peacemaker, helping to break up a dispute between two women. Police said they were summoned to a domestic disturbance and arrived at the scene shortly after 5 p.m. where a crowd had gathered. It’s unclear what precipitated the interaction between Blake and the two unidentified officers, but video of the incident clearly shows Blake walking away from the officers and leaning inside his vehicle on the driver’s side when he was repeatedly shot. Two officers were placed on administrative leave immediately.
It’s also unclear if both officers opened fire but Crump noted that his client took seven shots to the back. Two officers were placed on administrative leave for their role in the shooting.
“We all watched the horrific video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back several times by Kenosha police,” Crump said. “Even worse, his three sons witnessed their father collapse after being riddled with bullets. Their irresponsible, reckless and inhumane actions nearly cost the life of a man who was simply trying to do the right thing by intervening in a domestic incident. It’s a miracle he’s still alive.”
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers released a statement condemning the shootings.
“Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times in broad daylight,” Evers said in a statement. “While we do not have all 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.”
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes added, “The irony is not lost on me that as Jacob Blake was actually trying to deescalate a situation in his community, the responding officer didn’t feel the need to do the same.”
Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden also weighed in saying the police bullets “pierced the soul of our nation. Jill and I pray for Jacob’s recovery and for his children.”
Biden said the “nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force. This calls for an immediate, full and transparent investigation and the officers must be held accountable.
“Equal justice has not been real for Black Americans and so many others. We are at an inflection point. We must dismantle systemic racism. It is the urgent task before us. We must fight to honor the ideals laid in the original American promise, which we are yet to attain: That all men and women are created equal, but more importantly, that they must be treated equally.”
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the video told a “troubling story.” Meadows added that it was too soon to unravel what actually happened.
The American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] released a statement that invoked George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, two other unarmed African Americans killed by police.
“This demonstrates that the very institution of American policing is rotten at its core,” Jeffery Robinson, ACLU deputy legal director, said. “With each of the seven shots fired, the police department made their intent clear. They believed they had the right to kill an unarmed Black man for the crime of walking away.”

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Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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