The summer of 2020 has been filled with protests calling for police reform and even abolition in the wake of the deaths of many black men at the hands of the police. The Black Lives Matter movement has gained considerable traction and is working to dismantle the system that has led to the disproportionate levels of death within the black community. In Kenosha, Wisconsin, protests have followed suit after Jacob Blake, an unarmed black man, was shot in the back seven times by police.
The Wisconsin county declared an emergency curfew following the shooting as many protests were occurring that night. The curfew will be in effect from 8 p.m. Monday night through 7 a.m. Tuesday morning. Moreover, the Wisconsin national guard was deployed in Kenosha on Monday evening according to Kenosha News.
The victim is in critical condition and was airlifted to Milwaukee hospital. Presently Jacob Blake is expected to survive. Though Blake will fortunately survive, public outcry continues to persist.
The governor of Wisconsin released a statement on twitter: “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.” The mayor of Kenosha reflected the sentiment expressed by the Governor and asserted that “we are going to make sure that justice is done for everyone.” Presently the state Department of Justice is investigating the situation.
The question then becomes, what prompted police intervention? Blake had been barbecuing with his children earlier in the day when he left to go to the store. After leaving the store, he witnessed other individuals in an altercation and attempted to settle the dispute. Officers then arrived and tried to talk to Blake. He was not interested and proceeded to head to his vehicle when an officer shot him in the back seven times in front of his children. He was unarmed and in videos released was not behaving in a hostile manner. The officers provided immediate aid to Blake following the shooting.
Following the incident, crowds congregated and surrounded the Kenosha County Public Safety Building chanting “no justice, no peace.” Vehicles were set on fire and windows were smashed as the protestors clashed with the Kenosha Police. Activists demand action and that the officers are held responsible.