Contact Me By Email

Contact Me By Email

Monday, August 24, 2020

Wisconsin to Investigate Police Shooting of Black Man in Kenosha

Wisconsin to Investigate Police Shooting of Black Man in Kenosha  

“ The man was hospitalized in serious condition, the authorities said, and Kenosha declared an overnight curfew as protests grew around the city.

CBS 58 News Milwaukee

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating the police shooting on Sunday of a Black man in Kenosha, Wis., as he opened the door of a parked vehicle on a residential street, officials said.

The man was identified as Jacob Blake by Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin. He was in “serious condition” at a Milwaukee hospital, according to a statement from the state Department of Justice early Monday morning. 

As night fell, large crowds of demonstrators faced off against police officers, videos on social media showed. In one video, several empty trucks are seen on fire. Around midnight, the city of Kenosha issued a curfew until 7 a.m., and the county said Monday the courthouse would be closed because of “damage sustained during last night’s civil unrest.”

Mr. Evers said on Twitter on Sunday night that Mr. Blake had been “shot in the back multiple times” and that the governor stood “against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.”

The state Department of Justice said that its Division of Criminal Investigation was leading the investigation into the shooting. The officers involved were placed on administrative leave, its statement said.

It also said that the division “aims to provide a report of the incident to the prosecutor within 30 days” to determine whether to file any charges.

The episode began just after 5 p.m. in Kenosha, about 40 miles south of Milwaukee, when police officers “responded to a reported domestic incident,” according to the statement.

A video taken by a bystander and posted on social media appears to show what took place moments before the shooting.

In the video, several officers can be seen standing on a sidewalk next to a four-door S.U.V. The man identified as Mr. Blake, wearing a white tank top and black shorts, walks along the passenger side of the vehicle, away from the officers as they yell and as at least one of them points a gun at him.

Mr. Blake walks around the front of the vehicle and opens the driver-side door. Numerous people can be heard yelling, and one officer grabs the man’s shirt. As he opens the door, at least half a dozen shots can be heard while at least two officers can be seen with their guns pointed at him. The video, which is about 20 seconds long, ends shortly after the shooting.

Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A phone message left for the department spokesman, Lt. Joseph Nosalik, seeking further information about the shooting was not immediately returned. A message sent online to the person who posted the video on social media was also not immediately returned.

The shooting came after weeks of protests against racism and police violence across the country, prompted by the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis in May. The arrest of Mr. Floyd was captured by police body cameras and bystander cellphone video.

Governor Evers on Sunday also denounced police violence against Black people. “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,” he said on Twitter.

“Although we must offer our empathy, equally important is our action,” he added. “In the coming days, we will demand just that of elected officials in our state who have failed to recognize the racism in our state and our country for far too long.”

Juli├ín Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio who sought the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, tweeted video of the shooting and wrote, “We’re no other non-lethal methods considered, @KenoshaPolice?”

Anthony Kennedy, the alderman for the district who lives two blocks away from the shooting, said in an interview that he had concerns about what some people who were marching through the area might do. “At this point in time I’m just trying to keep my neighborhood safe,” he said.

Mr. Kennedy said he spoke to people for two hours near the scene of the shooting, encouraging them to trust the investigation, which will not be done by the local police department.

“I understand why people are hurt,” he said. “Why they are frustrated, but justice can’t be street justice. The process has to work out.”

Mr. Kennedy said he had seen the video but declined to say whether he thought the shooting appeared justified.

Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Michael Bell Sr., who has advocated police reform in Kenosha since his son was fatally shot by a police officer in 2004, said someone had sent him the video of the shooting. “I’m going to withhold my judgment until we see all the facts in this case but it looks pretty bad,” he said.

Mr. Bell said his eyes were drawn to a woman who is shown in the video jumping up and down next to the car as Mr. Blake is shot. He noted the similarity of the encounter to his own son’s killing, which was witnessed by his son’s mother and sister but not recorded.

Mr. Bell led efforts in 2014 to pass a law that requires police-involved shootings to be investigated by outside agencies.

“The system is broken,” he said. “The system here is broken.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that there had been numerous police-involved deaths in southeast Wisconsin, including at least 18 in the past 20 years. Few of the encounters resulted in criminal charges for the officers involved.

In 2016, the Wisconsin National Guard was called in to quell several days of demonstrations that turned violent in Milwaukee after police officers fatally shot Sylville K. Smith, 23, when he fled on foot after a traffic stop. The year before, large demonstrationsswept across the city after a Milwaukee police officer shot and killed a 19-year-old biracial man, who was unarmed, during a scuffle inside his apartment.“

No comments:

Post a Comment