Police Brutality claims another victim in the U.S as they grapple with racism and a pandemic

By Diya Nayak

31st August 2020

Even as the world raged after the horrific murder of George Floyd at the hand of Minneapolis police, and the United States erupted with mass Black Lives matter (BLM) protests, America’s fight against racism, police brutality and systemic oppression of people of colour is nowhere near its end. On August 23, 29year-old Jacob Blake, an African-American resident of Kenosha, Wisconsin, was shot seven times by police, in response to a complaint from a woman stating that the man was on her property.

Protestors took to the streets in Kenosha to demand justice for Jacob Blake.

(Source- First Post)

The shooting, which was caught on camera by a witness showed Blake being grabbed by the shirt and getting shot while walking towards the door of his SUV, inside which his three children were seated. Witnesses on the scene claim that the police were seen violently attacking and tasing Blake before he walked towards his car, after which he was shot by Officer Sheskey, who shot seven bullets into Blake’s back.

A week after the shooting, representatives of the Kenosha Police released a statement that Jacob Blake was armed and carrying a knife which he refused to drop, despite commands from the police. However, this was refuted by Blakes’ family and lawyers, who suggested that he was only moving to put his children out of harm’s way, and actively attempting to de-escalate the situation.

Jacob Blake was immediately shifted to a hospital by the police officers at the scene. Blake’s family has also stated that though he is recovering in the hospital, the bullet wounds have left him temporarily paralysed from the waist down.

A series of protests took over the city the same night and as people marched to demand justice for the unlawful attacks on a black person. They soon became violent as armed protesters set fire to cars, looted stores, and threw fireworks at police officers who retaliated by firing rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowds. The protests went on for over three days but were quick to take a violent turn after 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse opened fire into the crowd of protestors with a Smith & Wesson AR-15 style .223 rifle, which killed two and injured one person. Rittenhouse will now be facing felony charges. A night curfew was then imposed in Kenosha to dissipate the unrest ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the city.

Many Sporting teams and reputed athletes like the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Milwaukee Bucks, Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Atlanta Dream, Naomi Osaka pulled out of sporting events to protest against the Jacob Blake Shooting. Major Sporting events like Major League Soccer (MLS), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Football League (NFL) cancelled their events and practices to show solidarity with the protests.

Despite the shooting getting widespread media coverage, President Trump has refused to acknowledge the family of the victim during his rally at Kenosha or to condemn the shooting.

Sources: CNN, BBC

Edited by Sagarika Satapathy

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