Buildings and cars in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the United States of America were set ablaze Monday night amid protests reignited by the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blakes.
Blake, a Black man, was shot multiple times in the back Sunday evening as he tried to enter an SUV through the driver’s side door. In the vehicle were his 3-, 5- and 8-year-old children.
Following the shooting, police said officers rendered aid before the injured man was flown to a hospital in Milwaukee. He remained in intensive care late Monday, his attorney said.
Enraged demonstrators poured onto the streets after video of the shooting began circulating on social media, showing an officer grabbing on to the man’s tank top. Seven shots are heard, followed by the sustained sound of a car horn. Two Wisconsin police officers have since been placed on administrative leave, and the police union has urged the public to withhold judgment until “all the facts are known.”
The shooting comes after several months of nationwide protests demanding an end to police brutality and calling for justice in the killings of other Black Americans at the hands of police, including Breonna Taylor and George Flord, whose death was also captured on camera and sparked hundreds of protests from coast to coast.
“If we don’t have the systematic reform that this moment in America is crying out for, then we are going to continue to see hashtag after hashtag, protest after protest, and cities burning all across America,” Blake’s attorney, Ben Crump, said Monday.
Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said Monday an investigation into the shooting has kicked off but is at its “earliest stages.”
The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation is conducting the investigation, according to Graveley. Once their investigation is complete, the case will be handed over to the district attorney’s office for review.
“We’re asked to make two determinations based on the evidence that is presented,” Graveley said. “One, did any officer, in this case, commit any crimes, and two, are there any crimes that we believe were committed that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt?”
“If those two things are concluded as a yes, then criminal charges would be brought at the end of that process.”
During a news conference Monday Graveley also said he hopes federal prosecutors will conduct a parallel civil rights investigation into Blake’s shooting and “prosecute any alleged police misconduct.”
That investigation will “allow this community to heal sooner because independent prosecuting agencies will be able to make determinations at the same time about whether any criminal charges will be produced,” Graveley said.