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3 months since George Floyd's death, anger over Kenosha police shooting

An organized call for justice for Jacob Blake will be held in Minneapolis Monday evening.
Jacob Blake

A screen shot of the video that shows Jacob Blake being shot by police. 

The shooting by police of a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has renewed the calls for law enforcement accountability, coming almost three months after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Jacob Blake, 29, is in a serious condition in a hospital after he was shot multiple times by a single police officer as he opened the door to his vehicle on Sunday. Three of his children were reportedly in the vehicle when he was shot.

Police had been called to the scene of a domestic incident around 5 p.m., with witnesses saying Blake, who is believed to have been unarmed, was breaking up a fight between two women when police arrived.

Graphic video from the scene shows Blake walk around an SUV and open the driver's door before seven gunshots are fired at close range. It's unclear if all seven shots struck Blake, who was treated at the scene by officers before being taken to a trauma center.

The Associated Press notes that a warrant was out for Blake in connection to sexual assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct linked with domestic abuse, but it's not clear if the incident had anything to do with this warrant, or if police were aware of this prior to the shooting.

Protests sprang up in Kenosha as video of the shooting spread online, which in turn led to civil unrest as some businesses were damaged and vehicles set on fire, while police deployed tear gas to disperse demonstrators, according to reports

“We all watched the horrific video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back several times by Kenosha police,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents the family of George Floyd and is now representing Blake's family, said in a statement Monday. “Even worse, his three sons witnessed their father collapse after being riddled with bullets." 

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued a statement noting that Blake "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." 

Just across the Mississippi River, four Minneapolis police officers were involved in the fatal arrest of George Floyd, the 46-year-old Black man whose death resulted in criminal charges against the now-former cops. 

In the days that followed Floyd's death, protests ensued, and while many peacefully called for solidarity, there was also widespread looting and burning of businesses that led to cities imposing curfews for a string of days in late May.

The same is happening in Kenosha County, where strict curfew is in place Monday from 8 p.m. until 7 a.m. Tuesday, while Evers has also called up the Wisconsin National Guard.

"The public needs to be off the streets for their safety. The curfew will be enforced until 7:00 AM," Kenosha law enforcement announced Monday. 

In Minneapolis, calls for solidarity will be heard from hundreds who plan to gather outside the Hennepin County Government Center from 5-7 p.m. Monday. According to the Racial Justice Network's Facebook page, more than 300 people have committed to attend the protest, while another 1,900 are considering going.  

"Please join us in standing in solidarity and demanding justice for Jacob Blake," the event post says. 

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The officers involved in the Kenosha incident have been placed on standard administrative leave while the Wisconsin DOJ investigates. 

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued a public response to the Blake shooting, saying: 

"Last night, Jacob Blake – an unarmed Black man and a father – was shot multiple times in the back by police. Gwen and I pray for him as he fights for his life, and for his children who witnessed this horrifying event.

"Let this strengthen our resolve to continue our fight for police reform and accountability until no person has to fear for their lives in the presence of law enforcement due to the color of their skin."

Minnesota 5th District Rep. Ilhan Omar had this to say.

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