Jacob Blake is in serious condition after being shot multiple times in the back Sunday.
A 29-year-old Black man is in serious condition at Milwaukee’s Froedtert Hospital this morning after being shot in the back multiple times at close range by a Kenosha police officer who has since been placed on administrative leave, according to the state Department of Justice.
Within hours of the shooting, Gov. Tony Evers issued a statement calling for action.“I have said all along that although we must offer our empathy, equally important is our action,” said Evers. “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.”
The shooting took place Sunday evening, nearly three months to the day of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers May 25. And as occurred in the wake of Floyd’s death, protests broke out in Wisconsin cities over another shooting of a Black American at the hands of police officers.
Evers confirmed in his statement the man shot is 29-year-old Jacob Blake.
“Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kathy and I join his family, friends, and neighbors in hoping earnestly that he will not succumb to his injuries,” said Evers. “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.”
A statement by the Kenosha Police said officers at 5:11 p.m. Sunday were sent to the 2800 block of 40th Street for a domestic incident and were subsequently involved in an officer-involved shooting.
The Kenosha News reported Blake was attempting to break up a fight between two women. For reasons still not known, officers tased Blake, then followed him to the drivers side door of his car.
In a video (Warning: Graphic Content) that has been widely shared on social media, Blake is seen opening the door to his vehicle. An officer then pulls on the back of his shirt and the sound of seven shoots being fired can be heard as the officer is seen shooting Blake in the back.
The sound of a car horn blaring is then heard, presumably from Blake’s body falling forward.
Ben Crump, an attorney who represents Floyd’s family and the family of Joel Acevdeo, who died in April after being put in a chokehold by an off-duty Milwaukee police officer, confirmed Blake’s three sons were in the car when their father was shot by the officer.
“They will be traumatized forever,” Crump tweeted Sunday night. “We cannot let officers violate their duty to protect us. Our kids deserve better!!”
To that point, Evers said “we stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.
On June 19, Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes released a nine-bill package aimed at reforming police transparency and accountability in response to ongoing protests over Floyd’s death.
Included in the package are bills that would ban the use of chokeholds and no-knock search warrants by the police, two practices that have led to the deaths of unarmed Black men and women, including Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by Louisville officers in March while sleeping in her bed.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R- Kaukauna, told the media at a June 24 press conference that they both want to address the calls for action from the peaceful protesters but refused pleas for immediate action. The press conference was held to address the destruction of two statues on the Capitol grounds and the assault of Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, by protesters.
When asked specifically for a timeframe as to when demonstrators can expect lawmakers to return to the Capitol to debate the police reform bills, for example, Vos said it would likely not occur for several months.
“I think it is more realistic for us to look and see what the answers are and either come back right away in a special session after the election with the potential to come back in January or February,” Vos said. “I do not want to rush to pass one bill so we can just pose for pictures without having the systemic reform that needs to happen.”
The shooting is being investigated by the DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation. A statement issued early Monday morning said the aim is to have a report to prosecutors within 30 days.
The prosecutor then reviews the report and makes a determination about what charges, if any, are appropriate. The report is released to the public if the prosecutor determines there is no basis for charges to be issued against an officer.