Protests in Wisconsin city after black man shot by police, curfew imposed

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – Protests erupted in the US city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, following a police shooting there of a reportedly unarmed black man, prompting officials to impose a curfew.

The victim, identified by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers as Jacob Blake, was hospitalised in a serious condition on Sunday (Aug 23) evening after police shot him multiple times, local media reported.

People protesting outside the Wisconsin Center, on Aug 20, 2020, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
People protesting outside the Wisconsin Center, on Aug 20, 2020, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.PHOTO: AFP

A video circulating on social media and cited by the US press showed the man walking towards a car followed by two officers and one of them shooting him as he opens the car door.

Soon after multiple fires were set at the scene by a crowd that gathered to protest against the incident, according to various US media reports.

Social media posts showed large crowds marching down streets and throwing Molotov cocktails and bricks at the police, with one officer reportedly injured. The police responded by imposing a citywide curfew until 7am.

The shooting happened at around 5pm local time in Kenosha as officers were responding to a “domestic incident”. The victim was immediately taken to a hospital by the police, according to a statement issued by the Kenosha police department.

No further explanation was given by the police as to what led to the shooting.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice said early on Monday that officers involved in the shooting had been placed on administrative leave.

The state’s Division of Criminal Investigation is heading a probe into the shooting and said in a statement that it will seek to “provide a report of the incident to the prosecutor within 30 days”, US media reported.

There have been ongoing protests in the United States against police brutality and racism since the death on May 25 of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Governor Evers, in a tweet, said Mr Blake had been “shot in the back multiple times in broad daylight”, adding, “We stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with black Wisconsinites.”

He said that while full details of the incident had yet to emerge, Mr Blake was among black people to have been injured or“mercilessly killed” by police in the United States. 

“We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity and accountability for black lives in our country,” Mr Evers said, mentioning Mr Floyd and other victims of brutal law enforcement. 

“We’re tired of it…We’re tired of it,” Mr Clyde McLemore, who local Kenosha TV identified as part of a nearby chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement, said at the scene. “The frustration is boiling to the top and we’re sick and tired.”

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