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Protest erupts after Wisconsin police shoot Black man from behind

Protesters gather Sunday near the site of a police shooting in Kenosha, Wis.
In this image made from video, protesters gather near the site of a police shooting Sunday in Kenosha, Wis.
(WDJT-TV via Associated Press)

Officers deployed tear gas early Monday in an effort to disperse hundreds of people who took to the streets following a police shooting in Kenosha, Wis., that also drew a harsh rebuke from the governor after a video posted on social media appeared to show officers shooting at a Black man’s back seven times as he leaned into a vehicle.

A person was hospitalized in serious condition following a shooting by officers about 5 p.m. Sunday as police were responding to a “domestic incident,” the Kenosha Police Department said in a news release. Police did not provide details about what led to the shooting or the officers involved, but said the person was transported to a hospital in Milwaukee for treatment.

By late Sunday, multiple vehicles were set ablaze and windows were smashed along city thoroughfares as crowds faced off with law enforcement. Officers in riot gear stood in lines and SWAT vehicles remained on the streets near city buildings despite the declaration of a curfew until 7 a.m. Tear gas was used to disperse groups of people, according to reporters at the scene.

In the video posted on social media that appeared to show the shooting from across a street, three officers could be seen shouting and pointing their weapons at the man, who appeared to be Black, as he walked around the front of an SUV parked on the street. As the man opened the driver’s side door and leaned inside, one officer grabbed his shirt from behind and then fired into the vehicle. Seven shots could be heard on the video, though it was unclear if more than one officer fired. During the shooting, a woman can be seen screaming in the street and jumping up and down.

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Gov. Tony Evers on Sunday night released a statement on Twitter condemning the shooting of a man who “was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight” and whom he identified as Jacob Blake, saying that “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.”

The Wisconsin Department of Justice, which is investigating the shooting, did not release any details about the involved officers except to say they have been placed on administrative leave.

Following the shooting, social media posts showed neighbors gathering in the surrounding streets and hurling comments at police. Some could be heard chanting, “No justice, no peace,” while others appeared to throw objects at officers and damage police vehicles.

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Laquisha Booker, Blake’s partner, told WTMJ-TV that their three children were in the back seat of the SUV when police shot him.

“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,” Booker said. “Screaming.”

Later Sunday, in a scene that mirrored the months of protests over racial injustice around the world that have followed the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people killed by police, marchers headed to the Kenosha County Public Safety Building, which authorities had mostly blocked off. Protesters marched along lines of cars honking on their way to the station and eventually made their way to the rear parking lot. A man could be seen breaking the window of a patrol car parked along the street. Some police officers were positioned on the roof of the station as people continued toward the building.

Outside the station, protesters clashed with officers dressed in riot gear that included plastic face masks and held plastic shields and batons that they occasionally used to push people back.

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The building was closed Monday because it had been damaged, authorities said.

Evers meanwhile indicated an intention to further respond to the shooting.

“I have said all along that although we must offer our empathy, equally important is our action,” he said. “In the coming days, we will demand just that of elected officials in our state who have failed to recognize the racism in our state and our country for far too long.”

The city of Kenosha is about 40 miles south of Milwaukee on Lake Michigan.

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