Officer-involved shooting in Wisconsin captured on video sparks social media backlash, protests

CLOSEOfficer-involved shooting in Wisconsin captured on video
sparks social media backlash, protests 1


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Officials in Wisconsin are investigating after an officer-involved shooting that left a Black man hospitalized was captured on video and posted on social media Sunday night.

Officers from Kenosha Police Department responded to a domestic incident shortly after 5 p.m. and “were involved in an officer involved shooting,” KPD said in a news release. The man who was shot was airlifted to a Milwaukee hospital and is in serious condition, police added. 

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The incident almost immediately set off unrest in the city about 40 miles south of Milwaukee.

Kenosha County declared an emergency curfew for 10:15 p.m. Sunday, saying in a news release, “The public needs to be off the streets for their safety.” The curfew is in effect until 7 a.m. Monday.

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A crowd of about 100 people had reached the Kenosha County Public Safety Building by 10:15 p.m. and were chanting “no justice, no peace.” A line of police flanked the building and faced off with the crowd, moving them back away from the building.

One local reporter shared a video of tear gas being used on protesters at the police station. Local news reports showed a large crowd at the scene of the shooting late Sunday.  

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The police department’s release offered little additional information, but graphic video circulating on social social media showed a man being shot multiple times. Video shows a man, later identified by Gov. Tony Evers as Jacob Blake, walking toward a car and being followed by an officer who has a weapon drawn.

The man opens the car door and reaches into the vehicle and an officer tugs on his shirt. At least seven gunshots can be heard in the video, followed by a car horn. Two officers can be seen in the video near the car; it is unclear what happened before the video was recorded. 

KPD said “officers provided immediate aid” to the person who was shot. The video circulating online cuts away shortly after the shooting. 

On Twitter, Evers said he and his wife are hoping for Blake’s recovery. 

“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 wrote on Twitter. 

After invoking the names of other Black people killed by police, Evers added, “We stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.”

The Wisconsin Department of Justice will investigate the shooting, KPD said in its news release. KPD did not respond to phone calls or emails from USA TODAY seeking comment. The state DOJ did not respond to an emailed request for comment late Sunday. 

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Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney who is representing the family of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the knee of a fired Minneapolis police officer on Memorial Day, shared a video from the incident on Twitter. 

“He was getting into his car after apparently breaking up a fight between two women,” Crump said on Twitter, echoing reporting from The Kenosha News. “He’s in critical condition now. We demand JUSTICE!”

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Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., tweeted late Sunday night, in apparent reference to the shooting, “We shouldn’t have to see one more video of a Black human being brutalized and/or gunned down by police in a clear case of excessive or unwarranted force.”

She added, “Anybody who doesn’t believe we are beyond a state of emergency is choosing to lack empathy and awareness.”

Contributing: Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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