By WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News
(KENOSHA, Wis.) — Protests following the police shooting of Jacob Blake continued for a third night Tuesday into Wednesday as police deployed tear gas, flash bangs and rubber bullets upon protesters and erected a fence around the Kenosha County Courthouse.
At least three people were shot and two people were killed during the protests overnight, according to Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth.
Beth said the three people were shot near a gas station and that the other victim has non life-threatening injuries.
Kenosha Police and the FBI are still investigating what led to the shooting, Beth said.
As curfew began at 8 p.m., in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Tuesday, police can be heard warning people to move away from the courthouse where demonstrators had gathered.
A state of emergency was approved by the Kenosha Common Council on Tuesday afternoon, according to ABC Wisconsin affiliate, WISN-TV, which will be in place until Friday.
The third night of protests is in response to the shooting of 29-year-old Blake.
Cellphone video taken by a witness Sunday showed three officers following Blake around his SUV and at least one of them is seen shooting Blake multiple times in the back as he opened the driver’s side door and entered the vehicle, where his three young children were still inside.
Beth warned protesters Tuesday night that they would not allow for destruction to continue. He also said while many are peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights, people from “outside” the community are coming in looking to loot and cause destruction.
“If you want to protest peacefully, by all means go out and do it. It’s your right. But don’t be a part of this destructive force that’s burning our community. That’s not a productive path to justice,” Beth said in a statement Tuesday. “We are not sitting idly, watching the destruction of our community. We’re making every effort to make it stop, and I hope you will too.”
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers also declared a state of emergency Tuesday while increasing the number of Wisconsin National Guard members activated to help local authorities.
“We cannot forget the reason why these protests began, and what we have seen play out over the last two nights and many nights this year is the pain, anguish, and exhaustion of being Black in our state and country. But as I said yesterday, and as I’ll reiterate today, everyone should be able to exercise their fundamental right—whether a protester or member of the press—peacefully and safely,” Evers said in a statement Tuesday. “We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue. We also cannot continue going down this path of damage and destruction.”
The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, and their names have not been released. The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation is leading the probe into the incident.
The protests over Blake’s shooting wasn’t relegated to Wisconsin. ABC News affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta said protests there turned violent Tuesday night when protesters allegedly threw fireworks at police officers and spray painted a police precinct.
Officers in riot gear, the station reported, dispersed the crowd after things turned violent.
At an emotional news conference Tuesday afternoon in Kenosha, attended by both Blake’s mother and father and his three sisters, one of the family’s attorneys, Patrick Salvi Jr., said Jacob Blake Jr. was shot seven times at point-blank range in the back. He said at least one bullet tore through his spinal cord and other shots damaged his kidney, liver and arm.
The family said Blake is paralyzed from the waist down.
Blake has attracted a wave of national attention and has become part of the sustained wave of civil unrest protesting police brutality and system racism, which was sparked by the death of George Floyd in May.
Following Tuesday night’s win over the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers wasn’t talking about the big Game 5 win — he said he wondered why unarmed black men continued to be shot by police.
“What stands out to me is, just watching the Republican convention, they are spewing this fear. All you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear. We’re the ones getting killed,” Rivers said, speaking with reporters after the game. “We’re the ones getting shot. We’re the ones that were denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung, we’ve been shot, and all you do is keep caring about fear.”
“It’s amazing why we keep loving this country and this country does not love us back,” he said, fighting back tears. “It’s really so sad.”
He said police need better training and police unions need to be “taken down,” but he said that doesn’t mean he hates police or that they should be abolished.
“My dad was a cop. I believe in good cops. We’re not trying to defund them and take all their money away. We’re trying to get them to protect us, just like they protect everybody else,” Rivers said.
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