The governor of the American state of Wisconsin, Tonye Evers has declared a state of emergency following ongoing unrest in Kenosha after police shot an African-American, Jacob Blake multiple times at the close range, leaving him paralysed, according to his family.
Governor Tony Evers condemned vandalism and buildings being torched amid demonstrations against police violence as he announced that the state’s National Guard presence will double to 250 troops following Monday night’s protests.
Protests had erupted in the US state of Wisconsin few days ago, BBC has reported, after police shot a black man many times while responding to what they said was a domestic incident.
The man, identified as Jacob Blake, is in a very serious condition in hospital. Video posted online appears to show Mr Blake being shot in the back seven times as he tries to get into a car in the city of Kenosha. He was reportedly unarmed. The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating the incident.
Governor Evers in his plea said, “We cannot forget the reason why these protests began, and what we have seen play out over the last two nights and many nights this year is the pain, anguish, and exhaustion of being black in our state and country,” he said in a statement. “As I’ll reiterate today, everyone should be able to exercise their fundamental right – whether a protester or member of the press – peacefully and safely. We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue. We also cannot continue going down this path of damage and destruction.”
The city’s police department has released scant information about the shooting and the state’s Department of Justice announced it will investigate. civil rights attorney Ben Crump revealed on Tuesday that Mr Blake is paralysed from the waist down following the weekend shooting.
Mr Blake reportedly had tried to break up a fight on Sunday and was leaving the scene when police arrived. But in a widely shared video of the shooting, Mr Blake is seen walking to his car and opening its driver’s side door before police fired several rounds into his back. Three of his children were reportedly inside the car at the time.
Mr Blake’s father, also named Jacob Blake, told reporters on Tuesday that the shooting amounted to “senseless” attempted murder. He told the Chicago Sun-Times that his 29-year-old son was paralysed but doctors do not know whether his condition is permanent.