Kenosha, WI – Rioters attacked police vehicles and set fires on Sunday night in response to a video of an officer-involved shooting of a reportedly armed man that quickly went viral (video below).
The incident began just after 5 p.m. on Aug. 23 when officers responded to a call about a domestic incident at a home in the 2800-block of 40th Street in Kenosha, WTMJ reported.
A witness filmed part of the encounter between Kenosha police and 29-year-old Jacob Blake on his cell phone from across the street.
“Then the guy that got shot showed up,” 22-year-old Raysean White told NBC News. “He pulled up in his truck, got out his truck, seen him walk up. His son was running towards him. He was picking up his son. He told his son to get in the grey truck, we about to go.”
White said the next time he looked out the window, he saw “police out there wrestling” with the man who was later identified as Blake.
He said he witnessed a female officer deploying a Taser at Blake, NBC News reported.
That’s when White said he began filming the confrontation.
The video showed two police officers, with their weapons drawn, following Blake around a gray SUV as the suspect made his way to the driver’s door.
“They were also yelling drop the knife,” White told NBC News. “I didn’t see any weapons in his hands, he wasn’t being violent.”
The video showed that Blake disregarded the officers’ commands and kept going until he reached the driver’s door.
A crowd of bystanders was screaming and yelling as officers tried to catch up with the suspect, the video showed.
Then Blake opened the door of the SUV and leaned inside with an officer right behind him, yelling at him to stop.
The video showed that a split-second after Blake reached inside the SUV, the officer directly behind him opened fire.
The officer fired seven shots at Blake at close range, the video showed.
Police pulled Blake to the sidewalk and immediately began rendering First Aid, the video showed.
He was airlifted to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, NBC News reported.
Blake underwent surgery for his gunshot wounds and was in stable condition on Monday morning.
“I was freaked out,” White said. “And then I seen the mother of the child that got in the truck, I seen her get the little boy out the truck. He had to be 4, 5, 6 [years of age] or that range.”
Blake’s partner, Laquisha Booker, told WTMJ that she and Blake have three children together and that all three of the kids were inside the SUV when their father was shot.
“That man just literally grabbed him by his shirt and looked the other way and was just shooting him. With the kids in the back screaming. Screaming,” she told WTMJ.
Booker claimed that Blake wasn’t armed.
“That don’t make sense that you treat somebody like that, who’s not armed. He ain’t throw no punch or nothing,” she said.
The video White posted to social media quickly went viral and sparked outrage in the community.
An angry crowd gathered around the shooting scene almost immediately and violent protesters started lighting fires on the street and attacking police vehicles, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The unrest continued through the night forcing the county to declare a state of emergency in order to enact a curfew.
Kenosha police have not yet released any details of the reported domestic incident that might lend context to the scene captured in the cell phone video, NBC News reported.
However, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers released a statement condemning law enforcement late Sunday night, WTMJ reported.
“Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin,” Evers said. “Kathy and I join his family, friends, and neighbors in hoping earnestly that he will not succumb to his injuries. 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.”
“We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity, and accountability for Black lives in our country—lives like those of George Floyd, of Breonna Taylor, Tony Robinson, Dontre Hamilton, Ernest Lacy, and Sylville Smith,” the governor said. “And we stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.”
Blake’s family has hire notorious anti-police civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump to represent him, NBC News reported.
Crump put out a statement on Monday morning that claimed Blake was “helping to deescalate a domestic incident” when he was shot.
“We all watched the horrific video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back several times by Kenosha police,” the statement read. “Even worse, his three sons witnessed their father collapse after being riddled with bullets. 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,” Crump added.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is leading the investigation into the incident with the help of the Wisconsin State Patrol and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office, according to a press release.
The officers who were involved in the incident were placed on paid administrative leave as is protocol for all officer-involved shootings.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below: