RIOTS have broken out in Wisconsin after an unarmed black dad was shot in the back seven times by a white police officer in front of his children.
Shocking footage of the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha has sparked rioting across the state as Governor Tony Evers condemned the “excessive use of force”.
The shooting comes amid heightened tensions in the US over police brutality and the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing of African-American man George Floyd in May after a white cop knelt on his neck.
The Kenosha incident happened yesterday at about 5 pm local time as officers were responding to a “domestic incident”.
A video circulating on social media showed the man walking towards a car followed by two officers and one of them shooting him in front of his kids as he opens the car door.
Seven shots can be heard.
During the shooting, a Black woman can be seen screaming in the street and jumping up and down.
Witnesses said Blake was trying to break up an argument between women in a home nearby.
The frustration is boiling to the top and we’re sick and tired
Blake was immediately taken to a hospital by the cops 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.
Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney who is representing the family of Floyd, shared a video from the incident on Twitter.
He also said Blake’s three sons were in the car.
Mr Crump tweeted: “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.”
Wisconsin Governor Evers also took to Twitter to express his outrage.
He tweeted: “Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kathy and I join his family, friends, and neighbors in hoping earnestly that he will not succumb to his injuries.
“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.
“We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity, and accountability for black lives in our country—lives like those of George Floyd, of Breonna Taylor, Tony Robinson, Dontre Hamilton, Ernest Lacy, and Sylville Smith.
“We stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with black Wisconsinites.”
Furious crowds gathered at the scene and threw bricks and Molotov cocktails at police, according to reports in social media.
Clyde McLemore, who local Kenosha TV identified as part of a nearby chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement, said: “The frustration is boiling to the top and we’re sick and tired.
“We’re tired of it…We’re tired of it.”
Some rioters smashed squad cars and one police officer collapsed to the pavement after he was hit with a brick
The unrest has prompted the County of Kenosha to declare a state of emergency.
A city-wide curfew was imposed until 7am.
Social media posts showed large crowds marching down streets and throwing Molotov cocktails and bricks at the police, with one officer reportedly injured.
The incident on Sunday was likely to add to continuing outrage and protests in the United States and abroad against police brutality and racism.
The riots came after dozens of armed Black Lives Matter anarchists descended on the Denver Police Headquarters and damaged buildings, set fires and shot fireworks at cops.
They are furious about a police response to a homeless camp last week and to the death of Elijah McClain who died after being stopped by police last year in the suburb of Aurora.
Today marks one year since 23-year-old McClain was arrested, put into a choke hold and given 500 milligrams of ketamine as a sedative.
Less than a week later he was dead.
Following nationwide protests for racial justice and police accountability in the wake of police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, McClains case has received renewed interest and several investigations are ongoing by federal, state and local authorities.