Police shot a Black man in the back multiple times in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as his three sons watched on Sunday, his family’s lawyer said, sparking a night of unrest during which protesters hurled firebombs and drawing condemnation from the governor.
The victim, 29-year-old Jacob Blake, was taken to a hospital in serious condition after the shooting late Sunday afternoon. Blake’s father told NBC News on Monday that his son was out of surgery and in stable condition.
A video circulating on social media showed Blake walking toward the driver’s side of a gray SUV followed by two officers with their guns drawn at his back. Seven gunshot sounds can be heard as Blake, who appears to be unarmed, opens the car door.
A Wisconsin police officer yesterday shot Jacob Blake 7 times in the back. His 3 children were in the car, watching their father being shot.
This is America.
On August 28th, we will be marching against police brutality in Washington, DC, demanding justice. pic.twitter.com/ibrPD66Y1t
— Martin Luther King III (@OfficialMLK3) August 24, 2020
It was unknown whether the officers saw something inside the vehicle to justify deadly force. It was also not clear whether one or both officers fired their weapons.
Crowds gathered at the scene, set fires and threw bricks and Molotov cocktails at police, prompting authorities to impose a curfew through early Monday morning. Kenosha County announced on Twitter that its courthouse and administration building would be closed due to damage from the unrest.
Wisconsin Governor Evers, a Democrat, issued a statement noting that Blake had been shot in the back in “broad daylight” and urged all to stand against “excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.”
Pete Deates, president of the city’s police union, the Kenosha Professional Police Association, called Evers’ statement “wholly irresponsible,” noted that the video may not capture all elements of the incident and asked the public to withhold judgment until all facts are known.
The shooting of Blake occurred three months after the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, in Minneapolis police custody sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and structural racism in the United States.