Amid Ongoing BLM Protests, Police Shot Another Unarmed Black Man

Protests over the police shooting of another unarmed Black man intensified Tuesday amid months of unrelenting protests following the Memorial Day murder of George Floyd and of Breonna Taylor.

The latest victim is Jacob Blake, 29, who was shot point-blank in the back in front of his young children several times in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday while supposedly attempting to break up a verbal fight between two women.

Witnesses reported police followed Blake to his car and fired seven shots after he opened the driver-side door.

According to civil rights attorney Ben Crump, Blake’s children were in the car.

Although he survived the attack, Blake is now paralyzed from the waist down.

On Sunday, Wisconsin’s governor, Tony Evers, issued the following statement:

“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.”

In addition to dispatching the National Guard on Monday, Evers called a special legislative session to consider police reforms introduced last year.

Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes stated:

“This was not an accident. This wasn’t bad police work. This felt like some sort of vendetta being taken out on a member of our community. The officer’s daily actions attempted to take a person’s life in broad daylight. And like many of you, the video is etched into my mind, like so many other past videos that are just like it. It was a video that I would have rather not had to have watched. But the irony isn’t lost on me. That is, Jacob Blake was actually trying to de-escalate a situation in his community, but the responding officer didn’t feel the need to do the same.”

But, as has been playing out all over the country, law enforcement escalated matters with tear gas, riot gear, and rubber munitions.

Days after Joe Biden accepted the Democratic presidential nomination in a speech that exhorted the nation to “overcome this season of darkness in America,” Biden commented about the Kenosha shooting:

“This morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another black American is a victim of excessive force. Those shots pierce the soul of our nation.”

Biden also demanded the police officers responsible for shooting Jacob Blake “must be held accountable,” asserting:

“Equal justice has not been real for Black Americans and so many others. We are at an inflection point. We must dismantle systemic racism. It is the urgent task before us.”

With five percent of the population, the U.S. nonetheless incarcerates 25 percent (1.5 million) of the world’s prisoners, most of whom are minorities.

Of all fifty states, Wisconsin ranks number one in African American incarceration rates, according to a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study.

Gov. Evers said:

“I have said all along that although we must offer our empathy, equally important is our action. In the coming days, we will demand just that of elected officials in our state who have failed to recognize the racism in our state and our country for far too long.”

Are police reforms finally forthcoming?

Will Jacob Blake’s family receive the justice denied countless African Americans for centuries?

Or is this just more reactionary rhetoric at a time when we are experiencing the worst civil unrest in 50 years?

We have just added another name to the expanding list of Black Americans fallen victim to racist police violence.

Image credit: citizentruth.org

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Op-Ed News, Liberal Nation Rising, and Zoedune.