By Jessica Dortch
AFRO Production Editor

Gruesome, horrific, outrageous and disgusting are a few words that describe the scene in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 23 in which an unarmed Black man, later identified as Jacob Blake, was shot seven times in close range by police officers. 

The video footage that later went viral showed 29-year-old Blake walking back to his car after witnesses said he tried to break up a dispute between two women. Three police officers trailed Blake back to the driver’s side of his car with their guns drawn, before shooting him seven times in the back, while his three children viewed from inside the vehicle.

29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back at his car while his sons looked on from inside the vehicle, after witnesses say he tried to break up a dispute between two women. After being hospitalized in critical condition, Blake survived but his family now says that he is paralyzed from the waist down.
(Courtesy of the Collective)

Blake was later taken to the hospital where he would continue fighting for his life in critical condition, and the officers involved were immediately placed on administrative leave. Meanwhile, the residents of Kenosha were left to deal with the tremor of injustice and blatant disregard for human life.  

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers commented on the incident in a string of tweets that same night saying, “…We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity, and accountability for Black lives in our country—lives like those of George Floyd, of Breonna Taylor, Tony Robinson, Dontre Hamilton, Ernest Lacy, and Sylville Smith. And we stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites…”

Governor Evers went on to call in the National Guard on Aug. 24 after a night of violence and destruction in the city. This incident sent another wave of unrest surging through the country that is already on the edge as dozens of demonstrators added Blake’s name to the list and  continued their stance against police brutality in New York City, Washington D.C., Minneapolis and more.  

Blake’s family has since enlisted the help of national civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, and on Aug. 25, Blake’s father confirmed that Blake is alive, but, unfortunately the father of three is now paralyzed from the waist down. 

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP condemned the shooting in a statement, calling it “appalling and heinous.” Johnson went on to explain, “The unfortunate and sobering reality is that Black men and women are under perpetual fear of having their life taken from them at any given moment while engaging with police officers. In a country where the phrase, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” epitomizes “unalienable rights,” Jacob Blake is another prime example, in a succession of individuals, that the promises of this nation ring hollow for too many to be meritorious.”