What Happened

Saahithya Gutta and Maggie Craig

On Sunday, August 23rd in Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officers shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake seven times in the back at close range. The 20-second footage of the incident grew viral on social media platforms, causing an uproar of protests in Kenosha and other major cities around the country. 

There have been recent speculation as to why the police officers shot the 29-year-old. Many stories spread throughout the Internet, attempting to explain the situation. The Kenosha Professional Police Association disputed the claims that he was breaking up a fight. They released a statement declaring Blake’s girlfriend called the police on him claiming he was at her house when he wasn’t supposed to be. Wisconsin’s Attorney General revealed that the officers originally tried to arrest Blake with a taser, however, when he walked away, one of the officers shot him. 

 

Confirmed: Jacob Blake currently paralyzed from the waist down. Praying it’s not permanent. #JusticeForJacobBlake

— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) August 25, 2020

Although Blake survived the event, he did not leave unscathed. Blake’s attorney revealed that the gunshots paralyzed the young adult from his waist down. It has not yet been confirmed whether or not Blake’s condition will be permanent. However, it is confirmed that the Kenosha Police Department handcuffed Blake to his hospital bed due to felony charges. This practice is known as Forensic Restraint where law enforcement apply restraints (handcuffs, ankle cuffs, etc.) on patients who have shown signs of violent behavior in order to ensure the safety of the staff, visitors, as well as other patients of the hospital. 

The Wisconsin Department of  Justice launched an investigation into the shooting, involving the FBI into the case. They revealed that the two officers involved with the shooting are on administrative leave and cooperating with the investigation. This shooting is not the only one of its kind.

The Jacob Blake incident is parallel to the incidents involving George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other African Americans. The recent police shootings has given rise to protests in cities around the US calling for equality and justice for Black people. 

“I agree that most individual police officers are good people, but the police system is overfunded and in need of reform,” explains junior Swetha Pendela.

The city of Atlanta responded to this event with protests of its own, most of which quickly turned violent and caused property damage to several businesses. The Police Department of Atlanta made a total of eight arrests for obstruction or disorderly conduct. 

Sophomore Jackson Tufts gives his opinion on the riots. “I have never heard the organization condemn the looting of stores, especially because they are in Black communities, and I don’t think that is what should happen. That is not beneficial to Black lives.” 

The Jacob Blake shooting was not the first of its kind and may not be the last, despite the efforts of the protests. While the country (in its polarized form) takes to Twitter to voice its opinions, students right here at South have their own.