Two Wisconsin police officers are on leave Monday as state authorities investigate why a Black man was shot multiple times in the back as he entered the driver’s side door of an SUV, officials said.
Among the witnesses to the Sunday evening shooting in Kenosha were the man’s three sons, attorney Ben Crump and the American Civil Liberties Union said. The man, identified by Wisconsin’s governor as Jacob Blake, is in serious condition and fighting for his life.
Crump posted a short video of the shooting, garnering almost 700,000 views and sparking protests that led county officials to institute a curfew until 7 a.m. (6 a.m. ET) Monday.
Protesters overnight broke windows and sprayed graffiti at a Kenosha County administrative building and torched vehicles at a nearby auto dealership, according to CNN affiliate WISN. A fire was started at a county courthouse, and officers in tactical gear formed a line to protect a public safety building, the station reported. Kenosha is about 40 minutes south of Milwaukee.
The shooting came as demonstrators continue to decry police violence in American cities, including the encounters that killed George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The night before Blake’s shooting, protests erupted in Lafayette, Louisiana, after police killed a Black man — Trayford Pellerin, 31 — outside a convenience store.
Kenosha officers were called to a domestic incident about 5:11 p.m., police said. The shooting unfolded on a residential street packed with apartment buildings, a block from a city golf course. The Lake Michigan shoreline lies about a mile east.
In the video clip Crump posted, an African American man walks around the front of a gray SUV with two officers a step or two behind him, one with his weapon trained on the man’s back. As the Black man enters the driver side door of his car, the nearest officer grabs the tail of his tank top and seven shots are heard.
The man entering the car appears to go limp. A sustained car horn blares. A woman standing nearby appears to jump up and down in anguish.
In a tweet, Crump, who represents Floyd’s family, says the man was leaving the scene after “breaking up a fight between two women.”
Police said they were called to respond to a domestic disturbance, but it is unclear who called 911 or what happened before the recording begins.
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It is not clear from the video if both officers opened fire. The second officer has his gun out as the shots are heard, the video clip shows.
Both are on administrative leave, said the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s division of criminal investigation, which is leading the probe into the incident. All officers are cooperating, the department said. Neither officer has been identified.
“DCI is continuing to review evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to a prosecutor following a complete and thorough investigation,” the statement said.
The state agency aims to submit a report to prosecutors within 30 days, it said, adding no further details are available.
Blake was critically injured in the shooting, said Gov. Tony Evers, who publicly identified the man.
“Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight,” Evers said in a statement. “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.”
Following the shooting, police said, officers rendered aid before the injured man was flown to the Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.
The Kenosha Police Department requested the scene be turned over to the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department and Wisconsin State Patrol, it said in a statement.
Crump said Blake’s relatives reached out to his office for assistance. Though police did not provide details on the witnesses, Crump told CNN that Blake’s three young sons were inside the vehicle when their dad was shot.
“They saw a cop shoot their father. They will be traumatized forever. We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us. Our kids deserve better!!” the attorney tweeted.
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