Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Monday called the National Guard to quell protests that erupted in the wake of the police shooting an unarmed Black man, reported The Washington Post.
“This is a limited mobilisation of the National Guard focused on supporting the needs of local first responders to protect critical infrastructure, such as utilities and fire stations, and to ensure Kenoshians are able to assemble safely,” said the governor. He, however, did not give a time frame for how long the forces will remain in the city.
The police shot the man, identified as Jacob Blake, multiple times on Sunday evening. In a video footage shared on social media, three officers can be seen pointing their weapons at Blake as he walks around a parked car. As he opens the door and leans into the car, one officer can be seen grabbing his shirt and firing. Seven shots can be heard in the video.
The Kenosha Police Department said the officers were responding to a “domestic incident” but gave no details about what led to the shooting. It is so far unclear who called the police.
Blake has been hospitalised and undergone a surgery. He is currently in the intensive care unit but is in a stable condition, said his family.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating the incident, reported BBC. It said the officers involved had been placed on administrative leave. However, the officers have not been named.
Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump said Blake’s three sons were in the car he was getting into when he was shot. “They saw a cop shoot their father,” he tweeted. “They will be traumatised forever. We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us.” Crump said the shooting happened after Blake tried to break up a fight between two women.
Soon after the news of the shooting, hundreds marched towards the police headquarters. Vehicles were set on fire while the protestors shouted: “We won’t back down”. The police have asked businesses to consider closing for 24 hours apprehending armed robberies. The shooting in Wisconsin sparked nationwide demonstrations. Many gathered in Manhattan, Washington DC and Minneapolis to protest the police shooting.
Wisconsin Governor Evers condemned the shooting. “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 said in a statement. “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 recognise the racism in our state and our country for far too long.”
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday called for a “full and transparent investigation” of the shooting. “This morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force,” Biden said. “The officers must be held accountable.”
Though Donald Trump has not yet addressed the shooting, Vice President Mike Pence said they “will always stand with the men and women who serve on the thin blue line of law enforcement”. He added: “We’re going to back the blue.”
President Trump’s son decried the protests as “anarchy”. On Twitter, Donald Trump Junior shared a series of videos showing burning buildings and cars.
The incident came at a time when the United States have been engulfed by protests against racism and police brutality following the death of African American man George Floyd in May.
Floyd, an unarmed and handcuffed African American man, was killed on May 25 after a white former police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers involved in Floyd’s death – J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – were also charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.