A White Wisconsin police officer was caught on camera shooting an unarmed Black man seven times point-blank in the back, which ultimately sparked protests. The incident took place in Kenosha on Sunday night, with video showing two officers following a man identified as Robert Blake with their weapons drawn. According to USA Today, one of the officers fired on Blake as he attempted to enter an SUV, hitting him multiple times in the back.
There is no official word as to what transpired leading up to the shooting but, according to the Kenosha News, witnesses stated that Blake was trying to break up a fight between two women when officers arrived on the scene. The two policemen also attempted to use Tasers on Blake, the witnesses said, but it was unclear if they did. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers tweeted about the situation, writing, "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 later added, "We stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites."
I have said all along that although we must offer our empathy, equally important is our action. 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.— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) August 24, 2020
Blake was admitted to a Milwaukee-area hospital, where he was said to be in serious condition. His condition has since been reported to be upgraded to stable. The incident is being turned over to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation. Notably, the incident sparked mass protests in Kenosha, Milwaukee, and other surrounding areas. Police are reported to have used tear gas on protesters, and in some areas a curfew was instated by city officials.
Blake's family has retained civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is also the legal representation for George Floyd's family. Floyd died in May after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest. Floyd's death has been ruled a homicide by the coroner's office. In comments on Blake's situation, Crump stated that Blake's "3 SONS were IN THE CAR he was getting into when [Kenosha Police] shot him tonight. They saw a cop shoot their father." Crump added, "They will be traumatized forever. We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us. Our kids deserve better!!"