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The Shooting of Jacob Blake occurred on August 23rd, 2020, when the 29-year-old was shot in the back seven times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. On the night of August 23rd, the police attempted to arrest Blake after he reportedly tried to stop a domestic dispute. During the encounter, Blake briefly scuffled with the officers on the scene who tased him before he got up and walked to his SUV. While his children were sitting in the backseat, Blake was shot by an officer as he attempted to enter the vehicle, paralyzing him in the process. The shooting sparked a wave of protests and demonstrations in downtown Kenosha and around the U.S.
On August 23rd, 2020, 29-year-old Jacob Blake was reportedly trying to break up a fight between two women in Kenosha, Wisconsin, when police responded to a call about a domestic dispute. During the encounter, police turned their attention to Blake, who reportedly had an open warrant for his arrest, and attempted to subdue him with a taser. Witness reports appeared to conflict, with some saying he was unarmed and others saying they heard police yell “drop the knife.” Officers then drew their weapons as Blake walked around his SUV and attempted to enter the driver’s side, the police who followed him then grabbed his shirt as he entered the vehicle before shooting him seven times from behind. The family’s attorney later said that Blake was attempting to check on his three sons, who were in the back of the SUV.
Blake was then flown to Froedtert Hospital in serious condition, and on August 25th, his father stated that he was paralyzed from the waist down.
On the night of August 23rd, protests surrounding the shooting erupted across Kenosha County, leading to damaged police vehicles, a truck fire and vandalization of the local courthouse. An officer was also struck in the head with a brick and knocked unconscious, tear gas was deployed and looting occurred. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers eventually declared a state of emergency and up to 200 members of the National Guard were deployed to maintain safety.
Peaceful marches in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake gave way to fires and clashes with law enforcement officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, overnight https://t.co/zJ0bYst9QY pic.twitter.com/FlgwIuAHvZ— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 25, 2020
Nationwide Protests and Investigation
In the following days, protests were held in several major cities across the country, including New York City, Minneapolis and Washington DC. At least five were arrested on August 24th in Minneapolis during the demonstrations. Several businesses in Kenosha were set on fire the night of August 24th, resulting in the National Guard being deployed. One viral video shared by the Twitter account After Action Report showed looters assaulting an older business owner who was trying to defend his business in Kenosha (seen below). The video received over 342,000 views, 7,300 likes and 5,600 shares in roughly seven hours.
Looters assault an older business owner trying to defend his business in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 24, 2020. pic.twitter.com/LdlLnOpvfJ— After Action Report (@after_theaction) August 25, 2020
An investigation was launched shortly after the shooting by the state Justice Department, but the names of the officers involved, who have since been placed on administrative leave, have not been revealed.
On the night of August 25th, 2020, clashes broke out between armed civilians and protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, resulting in two deaths and a third person seriously injured after a shooting occurred. According to The NYPost, the shooting was sparked by a conflict between rioters who were damaging cars at a dealership and armed citizens who attempted to stop them. During the shootout, one individual was initially shot in the head, another in the torso and the last in the arm, each by the same rifle. On August 26th, Twitter user ElijahSchaffer tweeted one of his videos showing the shooter fleeing the scene. The clip (shown below) received over 1.9 million views, 6,200 likes and 2,900 retweets in roughly 10 hours.
BREAKING: as the shooter fled the scene to surrender to the police— ELIJAH RIOT (@ElijahSchaffer) August 26, 2020
BLM rioters attacked him, he then fired back over what appears to be a scuffle to get control of his weapon
Details are still unclear. I was up front on the initial shooting only
After the protests, social media users began flooding various platforms either demanding justice for Blake or defending the actions of the police, including several politicians, activists and celebrities. On Twitter, "Jacob Blake" also trended on the platform between August 24th and 25th. On August 25th, 2020, Stan Van Gundy, former NBA coach and analyst, took to Twitter to share his thoughts and said, “The killing of Jacob Blake is not an isolated incident. The protests are frustration and anger over 400 years of racist violent oppression that continues today.” The tweet (shown below, left) received over 4,700 likes in roughly four hours. That same day, Twitter user MattWalshBlog commented on the event and said, “If you're buying the ‘Jacob Blake was trying to break up a fight’ bullshit then I don't know what to tell you.” The tweet (shown below, right) received over 2,100 likes in roughly four hours.
On August 24th, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted about the event and called for “a full and transparent investigation.” The tweet (seen below) received over 107,000 likes and 23,000 retweets. The statement released on his campaign website was also shared to Reddit shortly after, where it accumulated more than 10,000 upvotes and 885 comments on the /r/politics subreddit in roughly 26 hours.
Yesterday, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by police. His kids watched from the car. Today, we woke to grieve yet again.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 24, 2020
We need a full and transparent investigation. https://t.co/9X7l25nq8d
On August 24th, a GoFundMe page was set up by organizer and local Kenosha resident Julia Jackson under the name "Justice for Jacob Blake." According to the statements on the website, the fundraiser's goal is to "raise funds to supplement the moral support and prayers we have been receiving. These funds will go toward Jacob’s medical bills, family expenses, legal representation, support for his children and therapy costs." According to the NYPost, who reported on the campaign on August 25th, the fundraiser has already raised nearly $1 million and has since upped its goal from the original $250,000 to $2 million.