Protests have erupted in the US state of Wisconsin after police shot a black man many times while responding to what they said was a domestic incident.
The man, identified as Jacob Blake, was taken to hospital for surgery and is now in intensive care, his family said. Video posted online appears to show Mr Blake being shot in the back as he tries to get into a car in Kenosha. Authorities in the city declared an emergency overnight curfew after unrest broke out following the shooting.
Hundreds of people marched on police headquarters on Sunday night. Vehicles were set on fire and protesters shouted “We won’t back down”. In a public safety alert, police urged 24-hour businesses to consider closing because of “numerous” calls about armed robberies and shots being fired.
Officers used tear gas to try to disperse hundreds of protesters who defied the county-wide curfew, which is in place until 07:00 on Monday (12:00 GMT). Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers condemned the shooting of Mr Blake, who was reportedly unarmed.
“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,” he said in a statement.
“I have said all along that although we must offer our empathy, equally important is our action. In the coming days, we will demand just that of elected officials in our state who have failed to recognise the racism in our state and our country for far too long.”
On scene of an officer-involved shooting in Kenosha. We’re at 28th ave & 40th street working to gather more information. pic.twitter.com/8OpEqK7vtK
— Sarah Thamer (@SarahThamerWISN) August 24, 2020
Jacob Blake’s name was trending on social media and thousands signed a petition calling for the officers involved to be charged. He is now out of surgery and in stable condition, according to family and friends on social media.
The shooting comes amid heightened tensions in the US over racism and police brutality following the death of African-American man George Floyd earlier this year.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday released a statement calling for a “full and transparent investigation” of the shooting.
“This morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force,” Mr Biden said. “The officers must be held accountable.”
Kenosha Police Department said the “officer involved shooting” happened shortly after 17:00 on Sunday. It added that officers had provided “immediate aid” to Mr Blake, who was taken to a hospital in Milwaukee in serious condition.
It said police had been responding to a “domestic incident” but gave no details about what led to the shooting. It is so far unclear who called police and what happened before the video recording began.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating the incident. It said the officers involved had been placed on administrative leave.
As of Monday morning local time, more than 18,000 people had signed a petition on change.org calling for the officers involved to be charged.
In video footage shared on social media, three officers can be seen pointing their weapons at a man identified as Mr Blake as he walks around a parked SUV. As he opens the door and leans into the car, one officer can be seen grabbing his shirt and opening fire. Seven shots can be heard in the video, as witnesses shout and scream.
The officers involved have not been officially named.
Prominent civil rights lawyer Ben Crump told CNN that Mr Blake’s family had reached out to him for assistance.
In a tweet, he said Mr Blake’s three sons were in the car he was getting into when he was shot.
“They saw a cop shoot their father. They will be traumatized forever. We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us,” he wrote.
He said the shooting happened after Mr Blake tried to break up a fight between two women.
Clyde McLemore, a spokesman with a nearby chapter of Black Lives Matter, told reporters “the frustration is boiling to the top and we’re sick and tired”.
Black Lives Matter protests were held across the US and around the world after African-American man George Floyd was killed in police custody in Wisconsin’s neighboring state of Minnesota in May.
A white police officer knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes before he died. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with murder.
Workers’ World Today is a free publication that empowers all workers, regardless of social or political affiliations. Distributed throughout New York City, our paper has a mission to educate workers and provide them with relevant information pertinent to the workforce such as workers’ compensation, discrimination on the job, workers’ rights, and more.