3rd night of unrest in Wisconsin amid protests against police brutality
Washington DC, Aug 26 (efe-epa).- The city of Kenosha in Wisconsin saw its third consecutive night of violence on Tuesday amid protests following the shooting of a Black man by police officers.
Jacob Blake, 29, has been in critical condition at a hospital in Milwaukee since the incident occurred on Sunday afternoon local time.
Police officers were responding to a call about a domestic dispute and opened fire on Blake as he tried to open the door to a car in the process of being detained. His three underage children were sitting in the vehicle.
The shooting was filmed by witnesses and has been widely shared on social media, triggering a wave of condemnation and protests.
Within hours of Blake’s shooting on Sunday, hundreds of protesters had descended on police headquarters in Kenosha, a city of over 100,000 about 60 miles north of Chicago.
The protests continued on Monday and Tuesday, with clashes erupting on Monday night and again on Tuesday night around two hours after a curfew was imposed at 8pm.
Reporters filmed members of the police using a megaphone to try and disperse the group of demonstrators who had gathered outside the Kenosha County courthouse, which had already been attacked during unrest the night before.
When the crowd failed to disperse, police used tear gas against the demonstrators, while dozens of anti-riot officers emerged from the courthouse to contain the protesters.
Around 50 police officers were still surrounding the building, CNN said, while Fox News reported that gunshots had been fired in the area.
Police later confirmed that a shooting had occurred but did not provide any further detail on the causes or whether there were any victims.
The New York Times cited Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth who said three people had been shot and confirmed one fatality.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard to support local police and emergency responders.
In a statement, Evers said: “What we have seen play out over the last two nights and many nights this year is the pain, anguish, and exhaustion of being Black in our state and country.
“We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue. We also cannot continue going down this path of damage and destruction.
“We are assessing the damage to state property and will be increasing the presence of the Wisconsin National Guard to ensure individuals can exercise their right safely, protect state buildings and critical infrastructure, and support first responders and firefighters.”
Blake’s lawyer Ben Crump told reporters on Tuesday that his client had been paralysed by the shooting.
“His family believe in miracles, but the medical diagnosis right now is that he is paralysed and, because those bullets severed his spinal cord and shattered some of his vertebrae, it is going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr to ever walk again,” Crump said.
His mother, meanwhile, appealed for calm amid the unrest, saying that Blake would be “very unpleased” by the violence and destruction of property seen during the protests.
The incident comes amid an uptick in Black Lives Matter protests that have taken place nationwide and around the world in the wake of the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died of asphyxiation after a white police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes during an arrest over an alleged fake $20 bill. EFE