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Wisconsin Governor Deploys National Guard after Police Shooting of Black Man

Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian speaks with protesters outside the Kenosha County Public Safety Building in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Aug. 24, 2020.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers is deploying the National Guard to the city of Kenosha to prevent violence after the police shooting of a Black man.

Jacob Blake, 29, was shot in the back and seriously wounded Sunday evening as he leaned into a car while his three children were inside.

Police were apparently responding to a domestic dispute, although circumstances surrounding the shooting are unclear.

The race of the three police officers involved was not made public, but the shooting sparked a night of violence in Kenosha, a historically working-class city of about 100,000 people between the Midwestern cities of Chicago and Milwaukee.

“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,” said Evers, a Democrat.

Police try to secure the public safety building from protesters, August 24, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Police try to secure the public safety building from protesters, August 24, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said the shooting calls for "an immediate, full and transparent investigation, and the officers must be held accountable.”

“These shots pierce the soul of our nation. Equal justice has not been real for Black Americans and so many others … we must dismantle systemic racism.”

The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, and an overnight curfew will be in effect in Kenosha and its suburbs.

Cellphone video purportedly captured the shooting. The video shows Blake walking around the front of an SUV to the driver’s side door with two police officers following him with their guns pointed at him. When Blake opens the door and leans into the vehicle, an officer grabs his shirt and fires. Seven shots were heard, but it is not clear how many of the officers opened fire.

People could be heard screaming and shouting. It is also unclear why police were called in the first place.

Reports say Blake was in stable condition Monday in a Milwaukee hospital.

The shooting set off a night of protests in Kenosha with police firing tear gas to break up the demonstrators.

Pete Deates, president of the Kenosha police union, is urging people not to jump to conclusions about Sunday’s incident.

“As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident,” he said. Deates also called Evers’ statement “wholly irresponsible.”

Sunday’s shooting comes after a spring and summer of nationwide protests against police violence against Black men and women sparked by the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody in May and other highly publicized killings of African Americans.