Kenosha, Wisconsin: Police Shot a Black Man, Sparking Riots and Vandalism

Jacob Blake, 2015 arrest photo
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Kenosha, Wisconsin: Jacob Blake, a 29-year old black man, was shot by police after he struggled with police, resisted arrest and walked to his vehicle while officers had their guns drawn. Blake appears to have been shot in the back. It is unknown if Blake was armed. Blake is still in the hospital and his father reported that he is paralyzed from the waist down. Hundreds of rioters tore up businesses and started fires.

A man who said he made the 20-second video that went viral said that he saw Blake scuffling with three officers and heard them yell, “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” before the gunfire erupted. He said he didn’t see a knife in Barnes’ hands. Kenosha police do not have body cameras but do have body microphones. Democrat Governor Tony Evers has called in the National Guard.

Kenosha County prosecutors charged Blake on July 6 with sexual assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse, and there was a warrant out for his arrest. Blake was arrested in 2015 for pulling a gun on bar patrons.

Nearly 24 hours after Jacob Blake was shot by Kenosha police seven times, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul promised a swift investigation with integrity during a news conference Monday afternoon, Aug. 24. The shooting sparked violent protests starting Sunday night and prompted the governor to call in the Wisconsin National Guard, with a curfew in effect for a second night.

Kaul would not answer questions Monday about the officers involved but said more information would be available in the coming days.

“Our role is to be an independent investigating agency,” said Kaul, with the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation leading this investigation.

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