Photographs show the devastating aftermath of a night of violent protests spurred by the police shooting of an unarmed black man in Kenosha on Sunday that turned the city into the nation’s latest flashpoint in a summer of racial unrest.
In a bid to stave off another night of chaos, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said 125 members of the National Guard would be in Kenosha on Monday night with responsibility for ‘guarding infrastructure and making sure our firefighters and others involved are protected.’
The Kenosha Police Department declared a state-of-emergency curfew for Monday night beginning at 8pm until 7am the following morning, according to a post on the police department’s Twitter feed.
The moves come after rioting and looting erupted in the wake of the shooting involving Jacob Blake, 29, who was shot in the back seven times in front of his three children after police were called to his home to reports of a domestic dispute yesterday.
Video of the shooting of Blake quickly went viral, with angered protesters setting cars on fire, smashing windows and clashing with officers dressed in riot gear across the city throughout Sunday evening and into the early hours of Monday.
Shocking pictures from downtown Kenosha captured on Monday showed dozens of burned out cars lining the streets, several businesses decimated by vandalism and numerous others looted and marred with graffiti.
Family members have since posted that Blake is in a stable condition at the ICU in Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee. But police in the area remain on high alert with more violent protests are expected later tonight.
Kenosha residents woke Monday morning to broken and charred storefronts, with dozens of burnt out cars and trucks lining the street.
One local business hit particularly hard by the unruly scenes was Car Source, a local automobile dealership.
The front lot of the building, typically filled with rows of pre-owned four-wheel offerings, instead resembled a scrap heap Monday, with charred metal remains and other debris scattered out-front.
The dealership is located just blocks from the Kenosha County Courthouse, which was also badly damaged in the riots.
Prior to the overnight destruction, Car Source had more than 140 vehicles available for sale, according to its website.
The owners spoke to CBS about their ‘devastation’ to have awoken this morning to find their business destroyed.
A reporter, Drew Hernandez, posted to Twitter a series of videos showing the gradual destruction of Car Source.
Around 2:20am., Hernandez posted footage of what appeared to be a flaming flare positioned under a seat in the back of an open vehicle.
BLM rioters are setting multiple dealership cars on fire in Wisconsin pic.twitter.com/PCZWrvU5Nj
Within 10 minutes, the truck appeared to have gone up in flames, with the fire extending to neighboring vehicles, the subsequent footage shows.
A different video appears to show multiple fires set throughout the car lot as car horns and loud bangs can be heard blaring in the background.
The fire continues to spread farther throughout the parking lot as smoke billows from the area and at least one small explosion can be seen.
The city’s downtown area was closed Monday ‘due to damage sustained during last night’s civil unrest,’ according to a post on Kenosha County Government’s Facebook.
Elsewhere overnight, one Kenosha police officer was filmed collapsing to the ground face-first close to where Blake was shot after being struck by a brick that was thrown towards cops during a stand-off.
‘He just got bricked! He just got bricked!’ someone close to the person recording screams, as others in the mob cheer, clap and shout anti-cop sentiments.
Several other protesters jumped on top of police squad cars and smashed windows in separate footage from the scene.
Another clip shows a row of protesters walking toward a line of police officers clad in riot gear as simmering tensions threaten to escalate the situation.
A dump truck that was parked at an intersection to prevent traffic from moving toward the police department was also set on fire.
The shooting of Blake occurred just after 5pm as officers were responding to a ‘domestic incident,’ the Kenosha Police Department said in a news release.
In the video, three officers could be seen shouting and pointing their weapons at Blake, who walked around the front of an SUV parked on the street.
As Blake opened the driver’s side door and leaned inside, one officer grabbed his shirt from behind and then fired into the vehicle.
At least seven shots could be heard, though it was unclear if more than one officer fired.
Blake’s three children were inside the SUV and watched as their father was gunned down, the family’s attorney, Ben Crump, confirmed.
Several witnesses said that Blake tried to break up a fight between two women outside a nearby home, according to Kenosha News.
Before resorting to gunfire, the police attempted to subdue Blake with a Taser, to no avail, it was reported.
Benjamin Crump shared video of the incident on his Twitter feed, and confirmed today he is now representing Blake’s family, and will ‘demand answers’ from police.
‘We all watched the horrific video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back several times by Kenosha Police. 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 alive.’
The officers were placed on administrative leave, standard practice in a shooting by police, while the state Justice Department investigates. And Kenosha County imposed an 8 p.m. curfew to try to head off another round of violence Monday night.
Crump is the attorney who represents the family of George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man who died in the custody of Minneapolis police in late May.
Floyd’s death ignited massive nationwide protests and rioting as millions took to the streets over the course of several weeks to demand the police officers responsible be tried and convicted.
In a statement denouncing the Kenosha shooting, Gov. Evers said: ‘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.’
Democratic nominee Joe Biden also responded in outrage of ‘yet another’ example of excessive force against the African America community, calling for an ‘immediate, full and transparent investigation.’
‘This morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force,’ he said, just over two months before Election Day in a country already roiled by the recent deaths of Floyd, Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. ‘Those shots pierce the soul of our nation.’
Biden added that the officers ‘must be held accountable’ for the shooting.
Republicans and the police union accused the politicians of rushing to judgment, reflecting the deep partisan divide in Wisconsin, a key presidential battleground state. Wisconsin GOP members also decried the violent protests, echoing the law-and-order theme that President Donald Trump has been using in his reelection campaign.
‘As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident,’ Pete Deates president of the Kenosha police union, said in a statement. He called the governor´s statement ‘wholly irresponsible.’
Online court records indicate Kenosha County prosecutors charged Blake on July 6 with sexual assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse. An arrest warrant was issued the following day. The records contain no further details and do not list an attorney for Blake.
It was unclear whether that case had anything to do with the shooting.
Laquisha Booker, who is Blake´s partner, told NBC´s Milwaukee affiliate, WTMJ-TV, that the couple’s three children were in the back seat of the SUV when police shot him.
‘That man just literally grabbed him by his shirt and looked the other way and was just shooting him. With the kids in the back screaming. Screaming,’ Booker said.
Crump, meanwhile, called the officers’ actions ‘irresponsible, reckless and inhumane’.
Wisconsin´s Republican Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke cautioned the public and elected officials against “racing towards judgment,” given how few details were known.
‘The frustration & anger that many in our communities are feeling must be met with empathy, but cannot be further fueled by politicians´ statements or actions that can stoke flames of violence,” tweeted Steineke, who is white.’
A massive crowd is currently gathering in front of the Kenosha Police Station, hours after cops shot Jacob Blake https://t.co/7fdcnjNtD4