Officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot and seriously injured Jacob Blake, a black man, after responding to a call about a family dispute. Seven shots were fired by the police directed at Blake, who was without weapons, according to local authorities.
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Protests erupted, forcing Kenosha County to declare a state of emergency and impose a curfew. The incident was captured on video.
Daytime and nighttime protests turned into violence and material damage the following nights. Late Tuesday a a member of the militia armed with a semi-automatic weapon would have killed two demonstrators. A third victim is said to have suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Athletes have not shied away from commenting on police and race issues in recent months. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, more and more athletes voiced their opinions on police brutality against people of color, and often in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
NBA players have been among the most vocal about police brutality in particular, and social issues in general, compared to professionals in other sports.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, a staunch supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, expressed his anger at the Jacob Blake shoot in a tweet on Monday afternoon, and again after his team’s victory in the Portland Trail Blazers Monday evening
Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers discussed the situation in Kenosha on Tuesday night:
Rivers, a high school star in suburban Chicago some 60 miles south and an all-American college in Marquette, just 40 miles from Kenosha in Milwaukee, swallowed back tears as she told reporters, âWe have been hanged. We were shot. And all you do is keep hearing about fear. It’s incredible. We continue to love this country. And this country doesn’t love us back.
Utah Jazz All-Star Guardian Donovan Mitchell was another NBA notable to comment on the situation:
Oklahoma City Thunder goalie Chris Paul took time right after his team’s victory on Monday to deal with the evolving situation in Wisconsin:
Athletes continued to post messages expressing their frustration with Blake’s shooting, including New Orleans Saints star catcher Michael Thomas and teammate Alvin Kamara:
Blake’s brother told reporter Lauren Linder of Milwaukee station WTMJ-TV early Monday that Blake had undergone surgery and was in the intensive care unit (it was later reported that he was paralyzed from the waist down, at least temporarily, as a result of spinal cord injuries and had also suffered organ damage):
Kansas City Chiefs star safety Tyrann Mathieu, who has raised concerns about police brutality in the past, also commented on the situation:
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told reporters Monday afternoon: “There are archaic laws that are detrimental to people of color in this state”:
Green Bay, Wisconsin, is approximately 150 miles north of Kenosha.
The officers involved in the case have been placed on administrative leave, according to the criminal investigations division of the Wisconsin Department of Justice.