Police responded with force overnight as demonstrators torched cars and set buildings ablaze in Kenosha, Wisconsin, demanding justice in the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Protesters disobeyed an 8 p.m. (9 p.m. ET) Monday curfew, facing off with law enforcement outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, some tossing water bottles and setting off fireworks, according to CNN affiliate WISN. Two city trucks were among the vehicles burned.
Law enforcement responded with flash bangs, tear gas and rubber bullets, the station reported.
Police shot Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, at close range Sunday evening as he tried to enter an SUV. In the vehicle were his 3-, 5- and 8-year-old sons, family attorney Ben Crump said.
Following the shooting, the injured man was flown to a hospital in Milwaukee. He remained in intensive care late Monday, Crump said. He is suffering from paralysis from the waist down, his father, Jacob Sr., told CNN, but he wasn’t sure if the condition is permanent.
“Thank God he’s alive,” Jacob Blake’s uncle, Justin Blake, told CNN. “We’re just praying for a great recovery, that he may have a great quality of life and that his father, my brother, can enjoy him.”
Ahead of an expected new round of protests, Kenosha County declared another state of emergency curfew from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday. Sheriff David Beth asked “the public to stay off the streets for their safety.”
Only police reform will stop protests, Crump says
Enraged protesters poured onto the streets Sunday evening after video of the shooting circulated on social media.
In it, two officers trail a step or two behind Jacob Blakeas he walks around a gray SUV. As he reaches the driver door and opens it, the nearest officer grabs the tail of Blake’s tank top, and seven shots are heard, followed by a sustained sound of a car horn as Blake collapses into the car.
Two Kenosha officers are on administrative leave. The local police union has urged the public to withhold judgment until a state investigation is complete.
The shooting came as demonstrators continue to decry police violence in American cities, including the encounters that killed George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The night before Blake’s shooting, protests erupted in Lafayette, Louisiana, after police killed a Black man — Trayford Pellerin, 31 — outside a convenience store.
“If we don’t have the systematic reform that this moment in America is crying out for, then we are going to continue to see hashtag after hashtag, protest after protest, and cities burning all across America,” Crump said.
Several businesses were burning late Monday in Kenosha, and Gov. Tony Evers called in the National Guard to help “protect critical infrastructure, such as utilities and fire stations and to ensure Kenoshians are able to assemble safely,” he said.
In the Wisconsin capital, about a two-drive from Kenosha, police arrested six people, including one armed with a handgun, after some marchers began breaking windows, setting fires, looting and throwing rocks and bottles at officers, Madison police said.
Protesters also marched in New York City, Washington, DC and Minneapolis, where at least five people were arrested.
“We will continue showing up until they’re tired of killing us,” a Manhattan protester told CNN affiliate WLNY.
Investigation into police conduct begins
Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley’s office is investigating the shooting, as is the Wisconsin Justice Department’s division of criminal investigation. The agency plans to present a report to Graveley’s office within 30 days, it said.
“We’re asked to make two determinations,” Graveley said. “One, did any office in this case commit any crimes, and two, are there any crimes that we believe were committed that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt?”
If the answer is yes to both questions, Graveley will file charges, he said.
Graveley also hopes federal prosecutors will conduct a parallel civil rights investigation into Blake’s shooting and “prosecute any alleged police misconduct,” he said.
That investigation will “allow this community to heal sooner because independent prosecuting agencies will be able to make determinations at the same time,” Graveley said.
Attorney: Blake was breaking up fight
Just after 5 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to a domestic disturbance call in the city of 100,000 located on the Lake Michigan shoreline between Chicago and Milwaukee,
It’s unclear who called 911 or what happened before the video of the shooting begins. In a police call, a dispatcher says Blake “isn’t supposed to be there,” and that he took a complainant’s keys and refused to leave. The dispatcher later explains she doesn’t have more details because the caller was “uncooperative.”
Crump, who represents many families whose loved ones were shot by police, including Floyd’s, said Blake was leaving the scene after “breaking up a fight between two women.”
Raysean White, who filmed the video that’s been viewed millions of times, said two women were arguing when Blake arrived and ordered one of his sons into a vehicle. Blake then walked into a home behind a woman, White said.
White, who was across the street, stepped away and when he returned saw police wrestling with Blake before one of the officers deployed his Taser on Blake, he said. He doesn’t know what started the argument and began filming what he called the middle and end of the altercation.
“Jacob kind of leaned on the car and they proceeded to wrestle him toward the back of the car, and he went to the other side of the car,” White told CNN. “When they were on the other side of the car on the ground, I had to pick up my camera and start recording.”
The dispatcher’s report of shots fired came about five minutes after the initial report. According to Crump, police had already used a Taser on Blake before the shooting. It’s unclear from the video if both officers opened fire. The second officer has his gun out as the shots are heard, the video clip shows.
“As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident. We ask that you withhold from passing judgment until all the facts are known and released,” said Pete Deates, president of the Kenosha Professional Police Association.