The uncle of Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has urged protestors to “let your faith lead the way” as they took to the streets for the second night.
Governor Tony Evers has called the National Guard in response to the protests, which saw buildings and cars torched for the second night in a row, despite a curfew of 8pm in the town. Evers said in a press release that the National Guard’s job is “guarding infrastructure and making sure our firefighters and others involved are protected”.
Mr Blake, who was unarmed, was shot seven times in the back by police officers responding to a “domestic incident” at 5pm on Sunday, 23 August. Footage of the shooting, thought to be taken by a passerby from across the street, has been shared on social media. The woman thought to be Mr Blake’s partner, Laquisher Booker, told a local news channel that three of Mr Blake’s children were in the back of the car from which Mr Blake was pulled and witnessed the shooting.
Little is known of Mr Blake, who is currently in a hospital in Milwaukee, in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), but it is understood that he was a volunteer at Black Urban Recycling in his hometown of Chicago. His uncle, Justin Blake, told the Chicago Tribune that his nephew had moved to the Kenosha area for the sake of his family: he wanted to “work and try to save and build a better life”.
The incident is likely to reignite tensions across the globe following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a policeman in May in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
A protestor in Kenosha told the BBC: “I am tired of being scared of the police killing me. Tonight they are going to listen.”
Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who represents George Floyd’s family, is representing Mr Blake. He tweeted: “We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us. Our kids deserve better!!”
Joe Biden, the presidential nominee for the Democratic party, has released a statement calling for a “full and transparent investigation” of the shooting. He added: “this morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another black American is a victim of excessive force”.
President Trump has so far not commented on the incident.