Protests erupted in Kenosha in the U.S. state of Wisconsin after police shot an apparently unarmed Black man multiple times in the back, according to the state governor, prompting authorities to impose a curfew.
The incident on Sunday was likely to add to continuing outrage and protests in the United States and abroad against police brutality and racism since the death on May 25 of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
The victim in Kenosha, identified by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers as Jacob Blake, was hospitalized in serious condition.
A video circulating on social media and cited by the U.S. media showed a man walking towards a car followed by two officers and one of them shooting him as he opens the car door.
Soon afterward, multiple fires were set at the scene by a crowd that gathered to protest against the incident.
Social media posts showed crowds marching down streets of Kenosha, a city of around 100,000 people on Lake Michigan about 65 miles (100 km) north of Chicago, and throwing Molotov cocktails and bricks at police officers.
Police responded by imposing a city-wide curfew until 7 a.m. local time (1200 GMT).
The shooting occurred at around 5 p.m. as officers were responding to what they called a “domestic incident.” The victim was immediately taken to a hospital by the police, according to a Kenosha police department statement. No further explanation was given by the police as to what led to the shooting.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice said early on Monday that officers involved in the shooting had been placed on administrative leave.
The state’s Division of Criminal Investigation said it would aim to issue a report to prosecutors within 30 days, according to U.S. media reported.
Governor Evers, in a tweet, said Blake had been “shot in the back multiple times in broad daylight,” adding: “We stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.”
He said that while full details of the incident had yet to emerge, Blake was among Black people to have been injured or “mercilessly killed” by police in the United States.
“We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity and accountability for Black lives in our country,” Evers said, mentioning Floyd and other victims of brutal law enforcement.
“We’re tired of it…We’re tired of it,” Clyde McLemore, who local Kenosha TV identified as part of a nearby chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement, said at the scene:. “The frustration is boiling to the top and we’re sick and tired.”
Celebrities reacted on Twitter after the news was posted online.
Camila Cabello called for the cops in question to be arrested and sent prayers to the victim’s family.
Praying for this man and his family. We DEMAND a new world. We need change, we need these cops ARRESTED, and we need a sign that this government has enough empathy and cares enough about humanity to do something about it. #JusticeForJacobBlake pic.twitter.com/3fwSp6Lzmi
— camila (@Camila_Cabello) August 24, 2020
“And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!! Someone please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted. This s**t is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE,” LeBron said on Twitter.
Tegan and Sara shared:
Defund the police. https://t.co/1XbdjDbvO4
— Tegan and Sara (@teganandsara) August 24, 2020
See more reaction below:
Another black man shot multiple times by police officers…It’s shoot first & detain second in these streets. Multiple officers were present….he could have been grabbed…he could have been tased….He could have immediately been stopped when he started walking around the car
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) August 25, 2020
Damn they shot that man 7 times…. why can’t 3 officers subdue one male? I truly need answers y’all comment on everything else……
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) August 24, 2020
They put 7 rounds into Jacob Blake in front of his children. I watched the video, you telling me he can’t be tazed? He immediately has to be shot? Smh apparently black lives still don’t matter. I am outraged this morning.
— CountOnAG (@Amir_Garrett) August 24, 2020
Black. Lives. Matter.
— COMMON (@common) August 24, 2020
We want liberation in this place. https://t.co/1J4SD23RUT
— Leslie Odom, Jr. (@leslieodomjr) August 24, 2020
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) August 24, 2020
#JusticeforJacobBlake 💔 Shot several times in the back by a police officer in front of his kids. My heart breaks for his family. Enough is enough.
— Vanessa Morgan (@VanessaMorgan) August 24, 2020
He was trying to break up a fight.
He wasn’t armed.
He was relieved police had arrived to handle the fight, so he went to get in his car and drive his children safely home.
They shot him seven times.
In the back.
In front of his children.
Say his name.
— Aisha Tyler (@aishatyler) August 24, 2020
— Colton Haynes (@ColtonLHaynes) August 24, 2020
Yesterday, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by police. His kids watched from the car. Today, we woke to grieve yet again.
We need a full and transparent investigation. https://t.co/9X7l25nq8d
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 24, 2020
(Reporting by Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Heinrich)