Kenosha protests: New clashes after Jacob Blake shooting in Wisconsin

There have been clashes for a second night in Wisconsin, with buildings and cars set alight, following the police shooting of a black man on Sunday.

Jacob Blake, 29, is in a stable condition after he was shot several times as he went to a car and opened its door in the city of Kenosha.

Governor Tony Evers has called up the National Guard to aid local police.

The killing of black man George Floyd in Minnesota in May led to protests against racism and police brutality.

Demonstrations across the US and in many cities internationally put a spotlight on the treatment of African-Americans by US law enforcement and prompted a wider reflection on racism in society.

Video footage of the Kenosha shooting, taken from across the street and shared on social media, shows Mr Blake leaning into the car and an officer grabbing his shirt, with seven shots heard.

A curfew has been in effect in Kenosha from 20:00 local time (01:00 GMT) and will last until 07:00 on Tuesday – but has been defied by some protesters.

In a press release, Governor Evers said the “limited mobilisation” of the National Guard – made at the request of local officials – was to help law enforcement “protect critical infrastructure” and make sure people could demonstrate safely.

What’s the latest from Kenosha?

Hundreds of protesters began a march at about 19:00 local time on Monday evening. It was largely peaceful, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, but tear gas was fired after water bottles were thrown at police.

After the protests past the curfew they turned more violent, with fireworks thrown and police responding with smoke bombs and flash-bang grenades.

By 23:00 several structures – including a Department of Corrections building – were on fire, along with a number of cars, the Sentinel said, with one reporter witnessing looting.

Reports suggest up to 200 members of the National Guard have been deployed.

Earlier in the day some protesters tried to force their way into Kenosha’s public safety building, demanding that the officers involved in the shooting be arrested. A door was broken off its hinges before officers in riot gear used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Hundreds of people had marched on police headquarters on Sunday night to demonstrate against the shooting.

Governor Evers has said there will be a special session of the state legislature on 31 August to discuss a package of laws announced earlier this year on accountability and transparency of the police.

Mr Evers announced the legislation in the wake of the police killing of Mr Floyd.

Lawmakers had “failed to act” in the two months since he announced the “commonsense policies”, the governor tweeted.

What do we know about the shooting?

Kenosha Police Department said the “officer involved shooting” happened shortly after 17:00 on Sunday. It added that officers had provided “immediate aid” to Mr Blake, who was taken to a hospital in Milwaukee in serious condition.

In the video footage, three officers can be seen pointing their weapons at a man identified as Mr Blake as he walks around a parked SUV.

As he opens the door and leans into the car, one officer can be seen grabbing his shirt and opening fire. Seven shots can be heard in the video, as witnesses shout and scream.

The police said officers had been responding to a “domestic incident” but gave no details about what led to the shooting. It is so far unclear who called police and what happened before the video recording began.

Police in Kenosha do not have body cameras, although they do have microphones.

Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who represents the families of George Floyd and others pursuing actions against the police, has announced he is representing Mr Blake’s family.

In a statement released on Twitter he said the 29-year-old father “was helping to de-escalate a domestic incident” at the time.

Mr Crump said the officers’ “irresponsible, reckless and inhumane actions nearly cost the life of a man who was simply trying to do the right thing”.

Mr Blake, who works as a security guard, is now out of surgery and improving.

Wisconsin’s Department of Justice is investigating the incident in Kenosha, a city of about 100,000 on the south-western shore of Lake Michigan.

The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave and a petition calling for them to be charged has garnered tens of thousands of signatures.

The Kenosha County district attorney said his office would work as quickly as possible but “these kinds of huge decisions… are not decisions that can be made in haste”.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday released a statement calling for a “full and transparent investigation” of the shooting.

Governor Evers also condemned the shooting, saying Mr Blake was “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.”

But the Democratic governor has faced criticism for this response.

Pete Deates, head of Kenosha’s police union, said Mr Evers’ statement was “wholly irresponsible” and said people should wait until all facts were known.

BBC News


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