Anger over the shooting of a Black man by police in a southeastern Wisconsin city spilled into the streets of Kenosha for a second night Monday, with police once again firing tear gas at hundreds of protesters who defied a curfew, threw bottles and shot fireworks at law enforcement officials guarding the courthouse.
Kenosha became the nation’s latest flashpoint in a summer of racial unrest after cellphone footage of police shooting Jacob Blake on Sunday around 5 p.m. in broad daylight circulated on social media. The shooting drew condemnation from Democratic Gov Tony Evers, who called out 125 members of the National Guard to quell protests.
Protesters chanted, “No justice, no peace” as they confronted a line of law enforcement officers who wore protective gear and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the courthouse entrance.
Police first fired the tear gas about 30 minutes after the 8 pm curfew took effect and protesters refused to disperse. But hundreds of people stuck around, lighting fires and screaming at police.
The latest confrontation came after protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and clashed with officers in riot gear Sunday night over the wounding of 29-year-old Blake, who was hospitalized in serious condition.
In a widely seen cellphone video made by an onlooker, Blake was shot, apparently in the back, as he leaned into his SUV while his three children sat in the vehicle.
Tensions flared anew earlier Monday after a news conference with Kenosha Mayor John Antarmian, originally to be held in a park, was moved inside the city’s public safety building.
Hundreds of protesters rushed to the building and a door was snapped off its hinges before police in riot gear pepper-sprayed the crowd, which included a photographer from The Associated Press.
Police in the former auto manufacturing center of 100,000 people midway between Milwaukee and Chicago said they were responding to a call about a domestic dispute.
They did not say whether Blake was armed or why police opened fire, they released no details on the domestic dispute, and they did not immediately disclose the race of the three officers at the scene.
The man who claimed to have made the video, 22-year-old Raysean White, said that he saw Blake scuffling with three officers and heard them yell, “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” before the gunfire erupted. He said he didn’t see a knife in Blake’s hands.
The governor said that he has seen no information to suggest Blake had a knife or other weapon, but that the case is still being investigated by the state Justice Department.
The officers were placed on administrative leave, standard practice in a shooting by police. Authorities released no details about the officers or their service records.
Evers was quick to condemn the bloodshed, saying that while not all details were known, “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.