This just happend in Kenosha, WI. 💔#BlackLivesMatter. pic.twitter.com/QLW7Vxtdzm
— chrizi (@nolimitchrizi) August 23, 2020
Warning: The video is disturbing.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) joined widespread outrage on Monday over the police shooting of a Black man in Wisconsin. The organization said that police “attempted to murder” Jacob Blake was in front of his three sons for the “crime of walking away” from law enforcement.
“In yet another vicious act of police violence caught on camera, the Kenosha Police Department attempted to murder a Black man as he walked away from them by shooting him in the back, in front of his three children and his entire community,” Jeffery Robinson, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Trone Center for Justice and Equality, said in a statement on Monday. “With each of the seven shots fired, police made their intent clear — they believed they had the right to kill an unarmed Black man for the crime of walking away from them.”
Witnesses said that Blake had been attempting to break up a fight between two women, according to Kenosha News.
As seen on video, Blake walked away from police, who had their guns drawn. He opened the driver-side door of a vehicle. At least one officer shot him in the back multiple times at point-blank range.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who now represents Blake’s family, said the man’s three sons were in the vehicle.
Confirmed: Jacob Blake’s 3 SONS were IN THE CAR he was getting into when @KenoshaPolice shot him tonight. They saw a cop shoot their father. They will be traumatized forever. We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us. Our kids deserve better!! #JusticeForJacobBlake
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) August 24, 2020
According to a statement from Crump’s office, Blake had been trying to deescalate a domestic incident. Officers drew their weapons, and Tasered him, the press release said. Blake walked away to check on his children when police opened fire, Crumps’s office continued.
“Their irresponsible, reckless, and inhuman actions nearly cost the life of a man who was simply trying to do the right thing by intervening in a domestic incident,” Crump himself said in a statement. “It’s a miracle he’s still alive.”
Kenosha police said officers provided immediate aid. Blake was taken to the Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee in serious condition.
“The Kenosha Police statement after the shooting said that they provided ‘immediate aid’ after committing this act of violence,” Robinson said. “But rendering first aid is a basic obligation. Officers shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back; it’s offensive to act as if not letting him bleed out afterward was an act of grace rather than a mandatory response to their own violence.”
“Unfortunately, disgusting acts of police brutality like this will be commonplace so long as police continue to act as an occupying force in Black communities,” Robinson said. “It should now be clear to elected officials across the country that the only way to end the scourge of police violence is to immediately divest from a policing institution that, from its inception, has been used to oppress Black people, and reinvest into the same communities that those horrific acts of violence are regularly perpetrated against. Policing is a crisis in and of itself, and we can no longer throw money and resources at an institution as hopelessly broken and expect to get different results.”
The incident, which immediately sparked protests and violence, landed right on a cultural fissure: the ongoing national debate over how law enforcement treats people of color, especially Black men.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation is looking into the incident. From their statement:
DCI is continuing to review evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to a prosecutor following a complete and thorough investigation.
If members of the public have any further information regarding this incident, please contact law enforcement.
When DCI is the lead investigating agency of a shooting involving a law enforcement officer, DCI aims to provide a report of the incident to the prosecutor within 30 days. The prosecutor then reviews the report and makes a determination about what charges, if any, are appropriate. If the prosecutor determines there is no basis for prosecution of the law enforcement officer, DCI will thereafter make the report available to the public.
There has been speculation on social media about the identities of those involved in this incident. The public is advised to await identifying information from an official source.
[Screengrab via CBS This Morning]
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