The shooting of a Black man by Wisconsin police on Sunday night was captured on video, sparking immediate social media backlash, protests and a state Department of Justice investigation.
Police deployed tear gas early Monday in an effort to disperse hundreds of people who took to the streets following the incident.
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, identified by Gov. Tony Evers as Jacob Blake, was airlifted to a Milwaukee hospital and in serious condition, police said.
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.
In a statement early Monday, Wisconsin DOJ said the officers involved in the shooting had been placed on administrative leave. The state’s Division of Criminal Investigation is heading up an investigation into the shooting and will seek to “provide a report of the incident to the prosecutor within 30 days,” according to the statement.
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The statement provided by the state’s DOJ does not identify the officers. It also doesn’t indicate why officers confronted Blake at the scene.
“DCI is leading this investigation and is assisted by Wisconsin State Patrol and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office,” DOJ said its statement. ” All involved law enforcement are fully cooperating with DCI during this investigation.”
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.
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 away from the building.
Police later set off tear gas canisters, scattering the crowd.
At 11:15 p.m., a city dump truck that had been positioned to prevent traffic from heading toward the police department was fully engulfed in fire. Some people were getting close to take pictures until someone shouted that the gas tank could blow.
By midnight, the crowd had dwindled to a few hundred people who stood in the square next to the courthouse watching city dump trucks go up in flames. A big boom sounded when one of the tires blew up, dispersing the crowd once again.
The police department’s release offered little additional information, but graphic video circulating on social media showed a man being shot multiple times. Video shows a Blake, walking toward a car and being followed by an officer who has a weapon drawn.
Blake 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.
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KPD said “officers provided immediate aid” to the person who was shot. The video circulating online cuts away shortly after the shooting.
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 also said Blake’s three sons were in the car.
“They saw a cop shoot their father,” Crump tweeted. “They will be traumatized forever. We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us. Our kids deserve better!!”
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.”
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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
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kenosha police shooting: Protests after Jacob Blake shot in Wisconsin