‘It’s a miracle he’s alive’: Protests grow as black man shot 7 times in back by police fights for his life

The US national guard is being sent in to contain protests and pockets of violence in the wake of a police officer shooting a black man in Wisconsin.

New laws are also being quickly drawn up by Governor Tony Evers, after Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back at close range in the city of Kenosha.

The attack, which comes just months after the death of George Floyd, sparked demonstrations and unrest – with some people seen pelting police with Molotov cocktails and bricks.

Jacob Blake, a black man shot by police in Wisconsin. Pic: Ben Crump
Image:Jacob Blake did not appear to be carrying a weapon. Pic: Ben Crump

Footage circulating on social media shows before he was shot, Mr Blake, who did not appear to be carrying a weapon, was walking towards a car as two officers followed him with guns drawn.

As Mr Blake opened the door, one of the officers grabbed his vest and shot him in the back.

A man on a bike rides past a city truck on fire outside the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., during protests following the police shooting of Black man Jacob Blake August 23, 2020. Picture taken August 23, 2020. Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY via REUTERS MANDATORY CREDIT
Image:Fires were set and Molotov cocktails thrown at police

He is in a serious condition and the 29-year-old’s family lawyer said his three young sons saw the shooting.

Witnesses said Mr Blake was trying to break up a fight between two women when the officers arrived.

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Joe Biden, the Democratic US presidential candidate, said the incident would “pierce the soul of our nation”.

He has called for “an immediate, full and transparent investigation” and urged that the officers on the scene “must be held accountable”.

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 24: A Black Lives Matter sign is held up as people gather in front of the police station the day after a Black man was shot by police causing outrage and local unrest in the city on August 24, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kenosha Police shot a Black man multiple times in the back yesterday night as he entered the driver's side door of a vehicle. The man reportedly identified as Jacob Blake, was hospitalized in Milwaukee in serious condition. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Image:The attack sparked protests in the city of Kenosha

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also tweeted: “I’m praying for Jacob Blake today. I’m standing with everyone who believes justice must be served in this horrific case and too many others like it. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter.”

The officers involved in the shooting on Sunday have been placed on administrative leave, the Wisconsin Department of Justice said on Monday.

The state’s division of criminal investigation is looking into the shooting and vowed to “provide a report of the incident to the prosecutor within 30 days”.

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 24: Police gather in front of the Kenosha County Court House after a night of unrest, on August 24, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The unrest stemmed from an incident in which police shot a Black man multiple times in the back as he entered the driver's side door of a vehicle. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Image:Kenosha police do not have body cameras but do have body microphones

Mr Evers said he stands “against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with black Wisconsinites”.

He is planning to recall lawmakers next Monday to try to push through a package of bills aimed at addressing problems with police.

But Pete Deates, president of the city’s police union, said Mr Evers was “wholly irresponsible” for rushing to judgement, and asked the public to wait until all facts are known.

He added: “As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident.”

Kenosha police do not have body cameras but do have body microphones.

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 24: People hold signs in protest at the police station the day after a Black man was shot by police causing outrage and local unrest in the city on August 24, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kenosha Police shot a Black man multiple times in the back yesterday night as he entered the driver's side door of a vehicle. The man reportedly identified as Jacob Blake, was hospitalized in Milwaukee in serious condition. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Image:Demonstrators protested near the local police station

Mr Blake’s partner, Laquisha Booker, told NBC’s Milwaukee affiliate, WTMJ-TV: “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.”

Benjamin Crump, who is representing Mr Blake’s family, said the police response was “irresponsible, reckless and inhumane”, adding: “It’s a miracle he’s still alive.”

Tensions rose in the aftermath of the shooting, with a large rubbish truck parked in the road to prevent demonstrators marching towards the police station set on fire before one of its tyres exploded, while people were seen kicking police cars and smashing their windows.

Kenosha’s protests are the latest in a series of ongoing demonstrations against police brutality and racism since 25 May when George Floyd died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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