Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called for an immediate investigation into the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which sparked riots, arson incidents, and looting in the city.
In a video, Blake appears to have been shot several times by officers. The Wisconsin Department of Justice said the officers involved were placed on administrative leave.
“This calls for an immediate, full and transparent investigation and the officers must be held accountable,” Biden said in a statement Monday.
“These shots pierce the soul of our nation. Jill and I pray for Jacob’s recovery and for his children,” the former vice president continued. “Equal justice has not been real for Black Americans and so many others. We are at an inflection point. We must dismantle systemic racism. It is the urgent task before us.”
Biden’s statement did not mention the ensuing unrest or riots in Kenosha, which left several police officers injured.
President Donald Trump was reportedly briefed on the shooting, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters earlier on Monday.
Blake’s family retained Benjamin Crump, the civil rights attorney used by George Floyd’s family. Crump said in a statement that the man was de-escalating “a domestic incident when police drew their weapons and tasered him,” and added Blake was walking away to check on his children, police fired their weapons several times into his back at point blank range.”
The video appeared to show Blake walking away from police officers and went around his SUV as the officers appeared to point firearms at him. It’s not clear what they said to him or what he said back, but it appears that they were attempting to detain him. Blake then went to the vehicle’s driver’s side door and opened it to reach inside before one officer grabs him, and then one of the officers appear to fire several shots at him.
Witnesses told local news outlets that he was not armed. However, it was not confirmed by officers if he had a weapon concealed or had one in his vehicle.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice and Division of Criminal Justice will both investigate the officer-involved shooting.
“DCI is continuing to review evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to a prosecutor following a complete and thorough investigation,” the release said.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice added in a statement that the man was transported to a hospital in Milwaukee.
According to the Kenosha News, about an hour after the shootings, activists from local Black Lives Matter-affiliated groups arrived to protest the shooting.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers announced 125 members of the National Guard would be sent Kenosha and have “guarding infrastructure and making sure our firefighters and others involved are protected.” Authorities also announced an 8 p.m. curfew in the county.