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Jacob Blake reportedly paralyzed, Wisconsin protests ignite fires across Kenosha: What we know

The police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, sparked another night of protests in Wisconsin and around the country.

Hundreds of protesters ignored the mobilization of the Wisconsin National Guard and an emergency curfew on Monday night to again protest at the Kenosha County Courthouse.

Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back multiple times Sunday by Kenosha Police Department officers responding to a domestic violence call, according to Ben Crump, the attorney representing Blake’s family. Police have released little information about what led to the shooting and haven’t said why officers approached Blake.

Day 2 of protests: Wisconsin protesters rally for second night against ‘shocking and outrageous’ police shooting of Jacob Blake

Graphic video circulating on social media shows Blake walking toward a car, followed by an officer who has a weapon drawn.

Blake opens the car door and reaches into the vehicle, and an officer tugs on his shirt. At least seven gunshots can be heard, followed by a car horn. Two officers can be seen in the video near the car; it is unclear what happened before the video was recorded. Crump said Blake’s three sons were in the car when Blake was shot. 

Blake’s father told the Chicago Sun-Times Tuesday his son is paralyzed from the waist down.

Here’s what we know on Tuesday:

Fires, tear gas: National Guard deploys to Kenosha County

A large crowd gathered at the Kenosha courthouse in the evening and members of law enforcement barricaded the area, according to local reports. Some Interstate 94 exit ramps in Kenosha County were closed, too. 

Officers used tear gas to disperse protesters in front of the courthouse and protesters threw water bottles at officers in riot gear after the county’s 8 p.m. curfew went into effect, according to reports from the scene. 

By late Monday, a truck had been lit on fire, recreating a scene from Sunday’s protests that saw city trucks on fire. The danger appeared to build deeper into the night: Several structures, including a Wisconsin Department of Corrections building, were set on fire in Kenosha. A local furniture store was also completely engulfed in flames. 

The National Guard was deployed to Kenosha County “to help protect critical infrastructure and assist in maintaining public safety and the ability of individuals to peacefully protest” the Guard’s public affairs office said in a statement Monday. State Gov. Tony Evers called the deployment a “limited mobilization.” 

ACLU of Wisconsin Executive Director Chris Ott called the move unnecessary and urged law enforcement in the area to avoid arrests and displays of force. In particular, Ott warned against the use of tear gas. 

Protests in Wisconsin’s capital city started around 9 p.m., drawing out hundreds of protestors who were largely peaceful. As night fell, the protests became more tumultuous as the number of people in the crowd dwindled slightly. Several dumpsters were set on fire, according to tweets from Capitol Times reporter Jessie Opoien, and firefighters were working to extinguish the blazes. 

The protesters were still out in Madison despite a severe storm rolling into the city, bringing claps of thunder and rain.

A Journal Sentinel reporter saw people looting Warby Parker and other stores along State Street, and noted that windows at UW Credit Union on the square surrounding the capitol were completely bashed in.

Who is Jacob Blake?

Blake, 29, has three sons ages 8, 5 and 3, Crump said. Neighbors who live near the shooting scene described Blake as a friendly, fun-loving person who often was seen with his children.

“It’s just awful,” said Stella London, 82, who heard the gunfire Sunday night.

Blake often greeted her as he passed by her home, she said. Another neighbor said he helped them with car trouble a few weeks ago. 

“Jacob Blake is a loving father of six that deserves proper medical attention and legal representation,” Blake’s family wrote on a GoFundMe website that has raised more than $150,000 in donations.

Blake had an open warrant stemming from a domestic case in May, but police officials have not said if the officers were aware of the warrant when they responded to the call Sunday. Online records indicate a warrant was issued in the case in early July. 

Blake’s grandfather, Jacob Blake Sr., was a prominent minister and civil rights leader in the Chicago area who helped organize a march and spoke in support of a comprehensive housing law in Evanston, Illinois, days after the 1968 slaying of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

What is Blake’s condition?

Blake underwent surgery Sunday night and was in stable condition Monday, his family and attorney said.

“It’s a miracle he’s still alive,” said Crump, who is representing Blake.

In an interview later Monday, Crump said Blake remained in stable condition.

Quoting Jacob Blake’s father, also named Jacob Blake, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that his son is paralyzed from the waist down.

The elder Blake said he did not know if the injury is permanent. 

“I want to put my hand on my son’s cheek and kiss him on his forehead, and then I’ll be OK,” Blake’s father said. “I’ll kiss him with my mask. The first thing I want to do is touch my son.”

Kenosha officials delayed police body cameras for years

City and law enforcement leaders in Kenosha, Wisconsin, unanimously endorsed the use of body cameras in 2017 as a way to increase police accountability and collect evidence at scenes of domestic violence, among other benefits.

But since then, they have balked at the price tag, raised policy concerns and put off implementation. The delays meant that officers who were on the scene of Sunday’s shooting of Jacob Blake while responding to a domestic call were not equipped with technology that could give their perspective on an incident that has roiled the nation.

“This is a tragedy. But at least some good could come from this if this is finally the incident where Kenosha says, ‘we’ve got to get body cameras on these cops right away’,” said Kevin Mathewson, a former member of the common council.

Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian confirmed Monday that current plans call for the city to buy them in 2022 — more than five years after he endorsed their adoption. Kenosha officers do have cameras in their squad cars, but it’s unclear whether any captured the shooting.

Unrest continues across the country 

There were protests elsewhere on Monday, too.

Hundreds gathered in Times Square in Manhattan and marched to Washington Square Park, according to CBS New York.

In Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed by a now-fired police officer on Memorial Day, protesters marched to a police precinct, according to WCCO-TV. The station reported five people were arrested for crimes related to “civil unrest.”

A large group of protesters also marched to the state Capitol building in Madison. 

On the West Coast, KCAL-TV in Los Angeles reported protesters were marching toward City Hall.

A police precinct was set on fire during a protest in Portland, Oregon, prompting authorities to declare a riot and deploy tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. Protesters had marched to the precinct from a park, chanting the name “Jacob Blake.”

Breonna Taylor protesters take to Louisville streets in ‘massive demonstration

A “massive demonstration” is expected throughout Louisville on Tuesday to reinvigorate protests over the death of Breonna Taylor, nearly three months after protesters first took to the city’s streets. 

The demonstration will mark the end of BreonnaCon, a four-day event meant to draw attention to her case. The event was organized by New York-based social justice organization Until Freedom, which was behind the July sit-in at Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s house. The group’s leaders have been in Louisville for the past month to lead protests in the name of Taylor and racial justice.

The Louisville Metro Police Department has designated Tuesday as an “All Work-Day,” meaning all LMPD personnel will be available for duty.

Protesters are expected to gather at South Central Park at 2 p.m. and march to the LMPD Training Academy, which is in the southern part of Louisville, a couple of blocks from Churchill Downs. The direct action is scheduled for 5 p.m., and after arriving at the academy, Until Freedom leadership said the protesters will continue to another location but did not disclose where.

Lafayette police shooting: Family seeks peaceful protest as demonstrations continue

Protesters speaking out against the killing of 31-year-old Trayford Pellerin by Lafayette, La. police should remain peaceful, and officers responsible for his death should be fired, his family urged Monday night.

Surrounded by Pellerin’s grandmother, father and aunt, his mother asked that Lafayette protests honor him by those marching in the streets and holding demonstrations across the city avoiding violence.

“I want the public to help keep his name going. But in a good way,” said Michelle Pellerin, the victim’s mother. “We are not for the violence and bloodshed. Enough blood has been shed.”

Monday marked the third day of protests across the city since Pellerin died in a burst of gunfire as officers approached him at a gas station Friday night.

|AP

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