On Sunday afternoon, Kenosha police were dispatched on a call of domestic violence. Two women were arguing but witnesses said that it had not become physical. When police arrived, a Black 29 year old father of six was trying to stop the women from fighting. When police arrived, Black put the three children - ages of 8, 5 and 3 years old - that were with him in the car. When he tried to get in the car, an officer grabbed him by the back of the shirt and shot him at least seven times in the back at point blank range.
Here is a cell phone video of the incident - Warning: the video is graphic!
WARNING GRAPHIC ⚠️ Police in Kenosha, Wisconsin shoot an unarmed man in the back pic.twitter.com/ZPdixPNwJY
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) August 24, 2020
Blake was transported by Flight for Life to a Milwaukee hospital where he underwent hours of emergency surgery. Miraculously, he is now in stable condition in the ICU.
The unnecessary use of force has prompted protests both Sunday and Monday night despite a curfew order by the Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian. The situation has been only exacerbated by police using tear gas on the protesters and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers ordering the National Guard to aid the police in Kenosha.
The reactions to the shooting has been all over the place, from the appropriate to the confusing to the really bad.
The mayor went to hold a press conference Monday afternoon outside of city hall but quickly retreated back into the building where a very limited number of people were allowed in. The people forced to stay outside were pepper-sprayed by the police, including photographers from AP and Getty.
Governor Evers sent a mixed message. He first ordered the National Guard to Kenosha, prompting condemnation from the ACLU. But he also immediately issues an order for the state legislature to convene in a special session to address the systematic racism found in police departments:
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is calling lawmakers into session to take action on a package of bills aimed at reducing the prevalence of police brutality a day after a police officer repeatedly shot a Black Kenosha man.
The move would ban police chokeholds and no-knock search warrants and make it harder for overly aggressive officers to move from one job to another.
Joe Biden also came out with a statement bringing the Black Lives Matter into the presidential race:
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said the shots "pierce the soul of our nation."
"Equal justice has not been real for Black Americans and so many others,” Biden went on to say. “We are at an inflection point. We must dismantle systemic racism. It is the urgent task before us. We must fight to honor the ideals laid in the original American promise, which we are yet to attain: That all men and women are created equal, but more importantly that they must be treated equally."
Others, including professional athletes and celebrities have also expressed sadness and anger over the shooting.
Republicans on the other hand, completely made asses out of themselves. Some tried to blame - or at least try to throw shade - on Blake, saying that we don't know if he was unarmed and/or reaching for a weapon in the car. Republican lawmakers also tried to blame Evers for not responding strongly enough and playing politics with the critical situation the state and the country are in:
While the governor is asking lawmakers to come in to take up legislation within a week, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Monday it's important to wait for more information about the incident and said he's forming a task force focusing on racial disparities, educational opportunities, public safety, and police policies and standards.
Such task forces typically take months to develop legislation.
"This is not a time for political posturing or to suggest defunding law enforcement. When a community is hurting, the most important thing that we can do is to listen," Vos, R-Rochester, said in statement. "We must find a path forward as a society that brings everyone together.”
Sen. Van Wanggaard, a Republican from Racine who is a former law enforcement officer, said Evers' demand for action was "irresponsible and inflammatory."
"Exhale,” Wanggaard said. “We must let law and reason, not emotion, guide the next steps."
Meanwhile, the family of Blake has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the medical costs, family expenses, legal bills and therapy for the children. They have, at the time of this writing, raised over $600,000.
If you would like and are able to help, you can donate to the family at their page.