Arsonists set buildings ablaze and torched much of the Black business district in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a second night of unrest sparked by the wounding of a Black man shot in the back by police as his three young sons looked on.
Smoke billowed over central Kenosha after police in riot gear clashed with protesters as they defied a dusk-to-dawn curfew on Monday night and Tuesday morning, near where police gunned down Jacob Blake on Sunday.
Blake, 29, remained in intensive care following surgery and would require more operations, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents the Blake family, told ABC News on Tuesday. Blake’s father told the Chicago Sun-Times his son was paralyzed from the waist down.
Blake, who had been attempting to break up a fight between two women, was struck by four of the seven shots, all fired by one officer, in front of his sons aged 3, 5 and 8, Crump said.
“You can only imagine the psychological problems these babies are going to have for the rest of their life,” Crump said.
Video captured by a neighbor shows Blake walking toward the driver’s side door of his SUV, away from two officers who were pointing guns at his back. After he opens the door, seven shots ring out with one of the officers tugging at his shirt. It remains unknown what the officers may have seen inside Blake’s car.
Crump said there was “no indication he was armed.”
The shooting is under investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which has not released any details. Kenosha police have referred all questions to the state investigators.
But the incident, the latest in a litany of cases to focus attention on police treatment of African Americans, unleashed outrage in the lakefront city of Kenosha, located north of Chicago and south of Milwaukee.
The shooting occurred three months after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racism.
UNREST ACROSS AMERICA
Unrest flared again elsewhere in the United States with overnight clashes reported in Portland, Oregon; Seattle and Minneapolis. In New York City, marchers swarmed the Brooklyn Bridge, social media video showed.
Portland has been the scene of weeks of often-violent protests. Police there once again declared a riot late on Monday and arrested several demonstrators after fires were lit at a police union office.
Seattle police said demonstrators set multiple buildings on fire, resulting in at least one arrest and one officer injured.
In Minneapolis, protesters including one man armed with a long gun stopped an armored police vehicle in the street until officers cleared the way with tear gas.
Basketball star LeBron James, who has emerged as a national leader on issues of race, lent his voice to the protests, telling reporters covering the National Basketball Association playoffs that “we are scared as Black people in America. … We are terrified.”
Black Lives Matter activists are demanding the immediate firing or arrest of the Kenosha officers, who have been placed on administrative leave.
Hours into the curfew, the mostly peaceful demonstration turned violent with some protesters setting off fireworks.
Local police, who had support from National Guard troops, fired tear gas, rubber bullets and smoke bombs to disperse the crowd, which grew to several hundred, according to protester Porche Bennett, 31, of Kenosha.
Fires destroyed much of the Black business district, Bennett said, adding that the instigators she saw were white.
“It’s people from out of town doing this. We’ve been shopping there since we were kids and they set it on fire,” Bennett said.
Social media images showed both white and Black agitators. Black men swinging baseball bats broke traffic signals and street lamps. White and Black men bashed a row of cars.
One white man riding a skateboard doused a government truck with an accelerant and set it on fire. Heavily armed white civilians stood guard in front of businesses.
At least one man was injured, shown on social media bleeding from the head as civilians administered aid.