The Shooting of Jacob Blake: A Spark to Violent Protests in Wisconsin

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Ethan Lopez, Staff Writer

On August 23, several officers responded to a domestic abuse call in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin. With Jacob Blake as the accused perpetrator, police attempted to arrest him on the spot. Struggling to take him in, they resorted to wrestling and even using a taser to subdue him. Despite efforts to get him to comply, Blake walked to the other side of his car and reached through the drivers seat window, with an officer subsequently grabbing him by his shirt collar and shooting him 7 times in the back, point blank. Thankfully, Blake did not die from his injuries, however, they left him paralyzed and permanently wounded.

The shooting of a black man by a white officer, on top of the current social and political climate, sparked nationwide outrage and protest, the most intense of which is in the city of which it happened. Several garbage trucks and police vehicles were destroyed or damaged, with several counts of breaking into government buildings. As the protest carried on, the violence spread to civilian and business assets, with homes, apartments, cars, and stores being burned down in light of the movement. In retaliation, police officers have used tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse any protester gathering, which was just met with more backlash and more aggressive protest. Politics on both sides of the spectrum are growing more and more divided as civil rights and a “corrupt justice system” is brought up.

Many protesters and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement support police reform, or the defunding of law enforcement.This was demanded for the effort of making the justice system more fair, racially unbiased, and having guilty officers be held accountable for their actions. While many people uphold these views, there are many that aggressively disagree with it and feel the need to take matters into their own hands. On the days of the protests, several armed civilians stood by some of their local establishments or houses to ensure their property was left untouched. While most of this was peaceful, there was one 17 year old male that opened fire and tragically killed two protesters, apparently done under “self-defence,” albeit posing very threateningly beforehand, causing the protesters to react. The mayor has denounced police brutality in his city of Kenosha and is working with the state to implement the safest reforms that will keep the civilians protected from both the police and criminals.