By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News
(KENOSHA, Wis.) — Authorities issued a curfew in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as angry crowds gathered in protest after a Black man was shot and seriously wounded by police Sunday evening.
The shooting occurred just after 5 p.m. local time when officers from the Kenosha Police Department responded to a reported domestic incident on 40th Street near the intersection with 28th Avenue. The officers provided “immediate” medical aid to the individual who was shot. The person was then flown about 45 miles to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, just west of Milwaukee. The individual was listed in serious condition at the time, according to a press release from the Kenosha Police Department.
Police did not identify the wounded individual nor elaborate on what led to the shooting.
Cellphone video allegedly taken by a bystander has been circulating on social media since the incident and has been viewed thousands of times. The video appears to show three officers with their weapons drawn following a Black man as he walks from the back of a vehicle to the driver’s side. As the man enters the driver’s side of the car, one officer, who is hanging onto the man’s shirt, opens fire. Shouting and several gunshots can be heard in the video.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), which is investigating the shooting, said all of the officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave.
“All involved law enforcement are fully cooperating with DCI during this investigation,” the agency said in a press release. “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.”
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has identified the wounded individual as Jacob Blake.
“Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin,” Evers wrote in a Facebook post late Sunday. “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.”
Milwaukee ABC affiliate WISN spoke to Blake’s fiancé, Laquisha Booker, who said two of their kids were sitting in the back of the car when he was shot by police. She claimed the officers threatened to shoot her as well.
Booker told WISN she never called police and wasn’t sure why they were there. She said her fiancé wasn’t armed and didn’t own any guns or weapons.
“It doesn’t make sense to treat someone like that,” Booker told WISN.
A large crowd of protesters amassed at the scene after the shooting, prompting local authorities to impose the citywide curfew. Officers were seen using tear gas on protesters who had gathered outside the Kenosha Police Department.
Police said they have received “numerous” calls overnight about armed robberies and shots fired in the city.
Authorities later announced the Kenosha County Courthouse and administration building will be closed Monday due to “damage sustained during last night’s civil unrest.”
Renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump said he has been retained by Blake’s family and that the man is in stable condition. Crump claimed that Blake was helping to deescalate a domestic incident when police drew their weapons and Tasered him. As Blake was walking away to check on his kids, the officers fired their weapons several times into his back at point blank range, according to Crump.
“We all watched the horrific video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back several times by Kenosha police. Even worse, his three sons witnessed their father collapse after being riddled with bullets,” Crump said in a statement Monday. “Their irresponsible, reckless, and inhumane actions nearly cost the life of a man who was simply trying to do the right thing by intervening in a domestic incident. It’s a miracle he’s still alive.”
“We will seek justice for Jacob Blake and for his family as we demand answers from the Kenosha Police Department,” he added. “How many more of these tragic ‘while Black’ tragedies will it take until the racial profiling and undervaluing of Black lives by the police finally stops?”
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