- 26 Aug 20
Protests have been escalating since Blake's shooting on Sunday.
On the third night of demonstrations protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black American citizen by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, three people have been shot, two fatally. The third victim's condition is apparently serious, but not fatal, according to multiple reports.
Tension arose early on Tuesday between protesters and an armed group who had been "organised to protect property", according to CBS News. The group showed up and promised to protect any property in the city of Kenosha that may be harmed.
People show up armed at BLM rally, argue with protesters. pic.twitter.com/w6b44p3f7L
— Mark McPherson (@NewsMarkMcP) August 26, 2020
"I understand protesting, go for it, peaceful protest, that's fine, peacefully protest," said Kenosha resident Kevin Hladilek. "But don't burn down buildings, don't break windows and don't mess up other people's stuff."
Chicago resident Greg Sherman countered by saying, "Looting, burning, unfortunately is part of it". "How do you compare brick and mortar to life?"
According to the New York Times' report, shots rang out on the street near a gas station. Sheriff David Beth of Kenosha County said that three people had been shot, and one was killed. It has since been confirmed that a second victim has died. The sheriff’s office was investigating whether the shooting had resulted from a conflict between demonstrators and the group of men with weapons, claiming to be protecting businesses.
Protests and demonstrations are breaking out in cities all across America, including Madison, Wis., Portland, Ore., Minneapolis and New York.
In Kenosha, armored vehicles fired teargas to disperse a crowd of protesters gathered outside the Kenosha courthouse Tuesday night, WDJT Milwaukee said. The crowd threw objects, including glass, plastic bottles and bricks. Rubber bullets were fired as the crowd pushed toward the gate outside the courthouse, retreated, then pushed forward again.
Blake is in critical but stable condition in hospital, and conscious but not aware of the protests raging in the city, according to a report by The New York Times. He has been paralyzed from the waist down, by a bullet that severed his spinal cord.
Mr. Blake’s parents and siblings pleaded for justice, and in a statement, Mr. Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., said "it was a senseless murder. They shot my son seven times, like he didn’t matter.”
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the family, said he had been told that Mr. Blake was attempting to intervene in an argument between two women when the police arrived.
An investigation is being carried out by the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation, although very little information has been released to the public as of yet.
The shooting of Mr. Blake was recorded by a neighbour in a video that spread across social media. According to some officials, there is a possibility that dashboard cameras in the officers' cars might have more video footage of the shootings, but there have been none made available to the public.
Kenosha police chief Daniel Miskinis has not made a statement to the public, nor has the police department released any details of the incident. The officer responsible for shooting Blake has been placed on administrative leave. “They can be very aggressive,” said James Hall, president of the Urban League of Racine and Kenosha of the Kenosha police, who have a reputation for mishandling situations. Hall has lived in Kenosha for twelve years. He said some officers treat people of colour differently, adding, “police officers draw guns a lot here just with routine traffic stops.
“And a lot of these guys are nice guys,” he said. “However, when they put their uniform on, they can transform into different people, and it could just be the culture that they have to participate in just to keep their job. They don’t approach the situation with a de-escalation format," he added.
Julia Jackson, Blake's mother, told reporters that she had been praying for the country's healing. “I’ve noticed a lot of damage. It doesn’t reflect my son or my family.”
"So many people have reached out to me, telling me they're sorry that this happened to my family," one of Blake's sisters said. "Well don't be sorry, because this has been happening to my family for a long time — longer than I can account for. It happened to Emmett Till. Emmett Till is my family. Philando (Castille), Mike Brown, Sandra (Bland) — this has been happening to my family, and I've shed tears for every single one of these people that it's happened to."
"I'm angry and I'm tired. I haven't cried one time," she added. "I stopped crying years ago. I am numb. I have been watching police murder people that look like me for years."
- Photo courtesy of Getty Images.