Protests erupted in Kenosha in the US state of Wisconsin after police shot an apparently unarmed Black man multiple times in the back, according to the state governor, prompting authorities to impose a curfew.
The incident on Sunday was likely to add to continuing outrage and protests in the United States and abroad against police brutality and racism since the death on May 25 of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
The victim in Kenosha, identified by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers as Jacob Blake, was hospitalized in serious condition.
A video circulating on social media and cited by the U.S. media showed a man walking towards a car followed by two officers and one of them shooting him as he opens the car door.
Soon afterward, multiple fires were set at the scene by a crowd that gathered to protest against the incident.
Social media posts showed crowds marching down streets of Kenosha, a city of around 100,000 people on Lake Michigan about 65 miles (100 km) north of Chicago, and throwing Molotov cocktails and bricks at police officers.
Police responded by imposing a city-wide curfew until 7 a.m. local time (1200 GMT).
The shooting occurred at around 5 p.m. as officers were responding to what they called a “domestic incident”. The victim was immediately taken to a hospital by the police, according to a Kenosha police department statement. No further explanation was given by the police as to what led to the shooting.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice said early on Monday that officers involved in the shooting had been placed on administrative leave.
The state’s Division of Criminal Investigation said it would aim to issue a report to prosecutors within 30 days, according to U.S. media reported.
Governor Evers, in a tweet, said Blake had been “shot in the back multiple times in broad daylight”, adding: “We stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.”
He said that while full details of the incident had yet to emerge, Blake was among Black people to have been injured or “mercilessly killed” by police in the United States.
“We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity and accountability for Black lives in our country,” Evers said, mentioning Floyd and other victims of brutal law enforcement.
“We’re tired of it…We’re tired of it,” Clyde McLemore, who local Kenosha TV identified as part of a nearby chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement, said at the scene:. “The frustration is boiling to the top and we’re sick and tired.”