On Sunday, August 23, the United States witnessed yet another act of police brutality and systemic racism as Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old African-American man, was directly attacked by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The officer, who has been identified as Rusten Sheskey, shot Blake seven times in the back as he was opening the door to his SUV. According to CBC News, the Wisconsin Justice Department said that two officers had attempted to subdue Blake with tasers before shooting him. The police violence was captured on video by a passerby, who decided to upload it to social networks. The video quickly went viral and like the late George Floyd, Jacob Blake has become a banner for demanding social justice.
Over the course of the last week, Ben Crump, who also represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, has been retained by the Blake family for civil services. Blake’s father, Jacob Blake, Sr., has reported that his son is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the shooting; doctors are not sure if the condition is permanent.
The brutality exercised by the police officers unleashed a series of protests promoted by the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement in several states of the country, especially in Wisconsin, where the events took place; for this reason, various personalities have come out to speak out against systemic racism and police violence.
The following day, former vice president and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden issued a statement expressing that the responsible officials must be held accountable.
“This morning, the nation wakes up once again in pain and outrage that another Black American is the victim of excessive force,” Biden said. “This requires an immediate, thorough and transparent investigation. Agents must be held accountable. These shots pierce the soul of our nation. Jill and I pray for the recovery of Jacob and his sons.”
Likewise, the Democrat proclaimed himself against systemic racism, pointing out that the United States at a “turning point.”
“We must dismantle systemic racism. It is the urgent task before us,” Biden expressed.
Contrary to Biden, President Donald Trump has said he wants to look more into the matter before making a formal statement.
‘It was not a good sight. I didn’t like the sight of it, certainly,” Trump said. “I think most people would agree with that. But we’ll be getting reports in very soon, and we’ll report back then.”
The protests in Kenosha have been chaotic at best, deadly at its worst. On August 25, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who drove from Antioch, Illinois, shot three protesters – two which have since died. Rittenhouse was arrested the following day and charged with multiple felonies, including two counts of first-degree intentional homicide.
The shooting has prompted multiple boycotts in American professional sports; on August 26 the NBA postponed all games until August 29 after the Milwaukee Bucks opted not to play earlier in the day. The WNBA followed suit, along with teams from Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League.