Hundreds of people who had gathered in the city over the Aug. 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake ignored a curfew and caused widespread destruction, even as Blake’s uncle urged demonstrators not to destroy their own city.
Meanwhile, new video footage emerged to show Blake struggling with police officers before he was shot.
Videos and pictures show mobs torching businesses, including a furniture store, and breaking into others, including a Boost Mobile location. Armed security at a gas station was told “you not with us!” when they stopped rioters from looting.
Jorge Ventura, a Daily Caller reporter, described the scene as “absolute chaos.”
While county officials announced an emergency 8 p.m. curfew earlier in the day, few heeded the call to go home.
The Kenosha Police Department said shortly after the curfew started that multiple roadways were blocked.
“STAY HOME. AVOID THE AREA,” police said in a social media alert.
Police officers and Kenosha County sheriff’s deputies clashed with demonstrators near the Kenosha County Courthouse, which rioters had damaged the previous night. Tear gas and other crowd-control munitions were used.
Rioters hurled bottles and shot fireworks at law enforcement officers.
Blake, 29, was shot multiple times by police on Aug. 23; video footage captured by a bystander showed him walking to a vehicle and reaching inside as police officers with guns drawn fired at him.
Another angle of the interaction, released on Aug. 25, showed Blake fighting with officers next to the vehicle and resisting arrest, before getting up and walking to try to grab something from the vehicle.
According to a criminal complaint obtained by The Epoch Times, Blake was charged in July with trespassing, third-degree sexual assault, and disorderly conduct. The alleged victim in the case said Blake was her ex-boyfriend and they have three children together.
Blake was airlifted to a hospital after being shot; he was in serious condition after surgery, authorities said. His father told the Chicago Sun-Times that his son presently is paralyzed from the waist down, although doctors don’t know if that’s permanent.
The officers involved, who were responding to a domestic incident, were placed on leave; the Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating the shooting.
Some officials urged the public to wait for the investigation to be completed before jumping to conclusions about what happened, while others argued it was clear Blake shouldn’t have been shot.
Blake “was shot in the back multiple times in broad daylight,” Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, said in a statement issued hours after the shooting.
“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 added.
“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. And we stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with black Wisconsinites.”
Pete Deates, president of the Kenosha Professional Police Association, a police union, denounced Evers’s statement.
“Until that investigation is completed, we ask that you withhold prejudgment about the incident and please let the process take place. Governor Evers’s statement on the incident was wholly irresponsible and not reflective of the hardworking members of the law enforcement community, not to mention the citizens of the city of Kenosha,” he said in a statement sent to news outlets.
“As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident. We ask that you withhold from passing judgment until all the facts are known and released.”
Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser noted the county recently declared racism a public health crisis and vowed to meet with community leaders to figure out how to respond to the shooting.
“We do not yet know many of the details of this officer-involved shooting, but we do know that it is the latest of a devastating series of events in our nation that have touched nerves and stoked fears about our relations with law enforcement, and with one another,” he said.
Justin Blake, Blake’s uncle, told a local reporter that he traveled to Kenosha after visiting with Blake at a Milwaukee hospital where he had been airlifted. Blake said the family appreciates the support people have shown but urged them to “protest peacefully, not to be destructive.”
“We want justice, and we want proper justice,” he said.