By BILL HUTCHINSON and SABINA GHEBREMEDHIN, ABC News
(KENOSHA, Wis.) — Defying a nighttime curfew issued by the governor, hundreds of protesters angry over police shooting a Black man in front of his children took to the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, again, breaking windows of patrol cars, setting fires to garbage trucks and converging on police headquarters, where they were met with tear gas fired by officers in riot gear.
The second night of unrest in the city of 100,000 people followed Sunday afternoon’s police shooting of Jacob Blake, who remains in a hospital in serious condition. Blake’s father, also named Jacob, told the Chicago Sun-Times that the shooting left his 29-year-old son paralyzed from the waist down and that doctors don’t know if the injuries are permanent.
ABC News has independently confirmed that Blake is paralyzed from the waist down.
“What justified all those shots?” his father told the newspaper. “What justified doing that in front of my grandsons? What are we doing?”
He said there are now “eight holes” in his son’s body.
“I want to put my hand on my son’s cheek and kiss him on his forehead, and then I’ll be OK,” the father, who was driving from his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, to be at his son’s bedside at a Milwaukee hospital, told the Sun-Times. “I’ll kiss him with my mask. The first thing I want to do is touch my son.”
Cell phone video taken by a witness showed police officers following Blake around his SUV and appear to shoot him multiple times in the back as he opened the driver’s side door and started to get in the vehicle, in which two of his young children, one celebrating his eighth birthday, witnessed the horror and broke out in screams from the backseat.
“It doesn’t make sense to treat someone like that,” Blake’s fiancee, Laquisha Booker, told ABC affiliate WISN-TV in Milwaukee. She said police officers also threatened to shoot her.
Booker said Blake did not have weapons on him or in his car and she was unsure why the cops were called to the area in the first place
The police officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave and their names have not been released.
Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, which is leading the probe, said the shooting unfolded after officers responded to a domestic violence call.
Overnight, protesters vented their anger over the shooting.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Blake, said Blake was attempting to de-escalate a domestic incident when police drew their pistols and stun guns him. Crump said Blake was walking away to check on his children when police shot him.
“We all watched the horrific video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back several times by Kenosha police,” Crump said in a statement. “Even worse, his three sons witnessed their father collapse after being riddled with bullets. Their irresponsible, reckless, and inhumane actions nearly cost the life of a man who was simply trying to do the right thing by intervening in a domestic incident. It’s a miracle he’s still alive.”
Wisconsin Gov. Tim Evers, a Democrat, ordered a curfew overnight and called in the National Guard to protect property.
Protesters, however, ignored the curfew and took to the streets chanting, “No justice, no peace.”
As night fell Monday, demonstrators marched to the Kenosha County Public Safety Building as police in riot gear attempted to head them off.
Protesters marched amid supporters honking their horns from passing cars and eventually made their way to the rear parking lot of the public safety building. Protesters could be seen breaking the window of patrol cars, shooting off fireworks, hurling water bottles at police and vandalizing buildings, including the Kenosha County Courthouse, with spray paint. A fire was also started on the ground floor of the courthouse.
Outside the police station, protesters faced off with officers, who occasionally pushed people back.
Several garbage trucks were set ablaze.
The civil unrest came amidst months of protests across the nation over the killings of Black people by police, including the May 25 death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.
“We will seek justice for Jacob Blake and for his family as we demand answers from the Kenosha Police Department,” Crump said in his statement, adding that Blake’s family has asked the protesters to remain peaceful. “How many more of these tragic “while Black” tragedies will it take until the racial profiling and undervaluing of Black lives by the police finally stops?”
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