KENOSHA, Wis. - The shooting of a man by Kenosha police on Sunday, Aug. 23 has prompted a wealth of reaction from officials and organizations throughout southeast Wisconsin.
We are compiling statements below as they are sent to FOX6 News.
Gov. Tony Evers
"Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kathy and I join his family, friends, and neighbors in hoping earnestly that he will not succumb to his injuries. While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country.
"We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity, and accountability for Black lives in our country—lives like those of George Floyd, of Breonna Taylor, Tony Robinson, Dontre Hamilton, Ernest Lacy, and Sylville Smith. And we stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.
"I have said all along that although we must offer our empathy, equally important is our action. In the coming days, we will demand just that of elected officials in our state who have failed to recognize the racism in our state and our country for far too long.”
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D)
“The video from Kenosha of a Black man being shot is terrifying to watch and we need a full and independent investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice to get all the facts about this police shooting. As we pray for Jacob Blake to live, let peaceful protests lead the way to the answers we seek, and justice.”
Joe Biden (D)
"Yesterday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back as police attempted to restrain him from getting into his car. His children watched from inside the car and bystanders watched in disbelief. And this morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force. This calls for an immediate, full and transparent investigation and the officers must be held accountable.
These shots pierce the soul of our nation. Jill and I pray for Jacob’s recovery and for his children.
Equal justice has not been real for Black Americans and so many others. We are at an inflection point. We must dismantle systemic racism. It is the urgent task before us. We must fight to honor the ideals laid in the original American promise, which we are yet to attain: That all men and women are created equal, but more importantly that they must be treated equally."
DNC Chair Tom Perez
“A bullet in the back. A knee on the neck. When will it end? Yet again, our nation is hurting. Yet again, Black communities are hurting. Our hearts go out to Jacob Blake and his family as we pray for his recovery. Sadly, we know he is not the first to be viciously gunned down by law enforcement. He is one of countless Black Americans who have suffered at the hands of bigotry with a badge. When I was assistant attorney general for civil rights during the first term of the Obama-Biden administration, we worked tirelessly to change the culture of police departments from Seattle to New Orleans to Puerto Rico. This administration has refused to continue that work and has been downright hostile to progress. We need meaningful action and accountability to end police brutality and racial injustice – for Jacob Blake, for George Floyd, for Breonna Taylor, and for so many others. So long as Black men and women cannot breathe, we cannot rest.”
Pete Deates, president of the Kenosha Professional Police Association
"Anytime deadly force is used, our hearts go out to those affected by it. We assure you an independent investigation is being conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation.
"Until that investigation is completed, we ask that you withhold prejudgment about the incident and please let the process take place. Governor Evers’ statement on the incident was wholly irresponsible and not reflective of the hardworking members of the law enforcement community, not to mention the citizens of the City of Kenosha.
"As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident. We ask that you withhold from passing judgement until all the facts are known and released.
"We, along with the citizens of the great City of Kenosha, ask for peace and to let the process play out fairly and impartially.
“In yet another vicious act of police violence caught on camera, the Kenosha Police Department attempted to murder a Black man as he walked away from them by shooting him in the back, in front of his three children and his entire community. With each of the seven shots fired, police made their intent clear — they believed they had the right to kill an unarmed Black man for the crime of walking away from them.
“The Kenosha Police statement after the shooting said that they provided ‘immediate aid’ after committing this act of violence. But rendering first aid is a basic obligation. Officers shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back; it’s offensive to act as if not letting him bleed out afterward was an act of grace rather than a mandatory response to their own violence.
“The reasons that led to this shooting can’t be changed with more money thrown at police departments to find ways not to murder the members of the communities that they are supposed to be serving. The fact that incidents of police violence like this, the murder of Breonna Taylor as she slept in her home, the murder of George Floyd across the street from a grocery store, the murder of Eric Garner outside of a neighborhood bodega and countless others have become commonplace shows that the very institution of American policing is rotten at its core.
“Unfortunately, disgusting acts of police brutality like this will be commonplace so long as police continue to act as an occupying force in Black communities. It should now be clear to elected officials across the country that the only way to end the scourge of police violence is to immediately divest from a policing institution that, from its inception, has been used to oppress Black people, and reinvest into the same communities that those horrific acts of violence are regularly perpetrated against. Policing is a crisis in and of itself, and we can no longer throw money and resources at an institution as hopelessly broken and expect to get different results.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
“The shooting of Jacob Blake is shocking, and, based on what’s visible in the video, appears to lack any possible justification.
“Tragically, Mr. Blake’s shooting is not unique. Law enforcement in every community must examine both the use of force and disparate treatment of people of color. There must be change.
“The Department of Justice must investigate this incident promptly and thoroughly."
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley
“I join the family and friends of Jacob Blake in praying that he will survive the critical injuries suffered last night as he was shot in the back multiple times by Kenosha police. As a father, it breaks my heart to know that Blake's children went to sleep last night not knowing if their father would make it through the night. It cuts even deeper to know that he is not the first person of color to have their lives endangered at the hands of law enforcement in this state or nation.
“Make no mistake, Blake’s wounds are the result of systemic racism, the policies and practices that entangle our institutions and produce racially disparate outcomes, regardless of the intentions of the people who work within them. It’s the reason why Wisconsin is ranked as the worst place to raise a black child, why child poverty in the Black community is markedly higher compared to their white counterparts, and why Milwaukee County ranks as 71st healthiest county out of 72 counties in the state.
“After the murder of George Floyd, Milwaukee County residents took to the streets to demand justice, equity, and accountability for Black lives. Months after Floyd’s death, the people continue to make their voices heard and call for a fundamental change in the way we handle police-community relations, the way we treat communities color, and the way we include each and every person in our society to have their voices heard in our democracy.
“At Milwaukee County, we’ve started this process by committing to achieve racial equity and developing the first strategic plan in nearly twenty years through a racial equity lens. But, as a father of young Black children I understand the fierce urgency in which communities of color are demanding change. It’s time to listen to the voice of the people and take action to prevent the unnecessary loss of Black lives at the hands of law enforcement. The time for change is always now. I stand with my brothers and sisters who are standing up for Black lives and making their voices heard.
“As we continue to pray for the recovery of Jacob Blake, and learn more details of last night’s events in Kenosha, I urge leaders at both the local and state level to work together and follow the lead of Milwaukee County in declaring racism as a public health crisis and commit to undoing generations of racist policies and practices that continue to cut short the lives of too many residents of color.”
State Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine)
“The video of a Kenosha Police Officer shooting Jacob Blake appears shocking.
“Although the video that is publicly available at this time provides a picture of the incident, it is also important to remember that there is a great deal that cannot be seen, and many witnesses who saw the events leading up to and during the event from different perspectives. That is why there should be, and will be, a thorough, independent investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice into the shooting of Mr. Blake. If the independent investigation shows the shooting to be unjustified, people will be held accountable.
“Exhale. Everyone should take a deep breath. There is an investigatory process that must be followed, so no evidence is overlooked. We must let law and reason, not emotion, guide the next steps. I know passions and tensions are high right now between certain communities and law enforcement. It’s important to realize that tension goes both ways. Although each situation is unique, it is easy to lump every interaction together when it is the perceived reality you live in. But nothing justifies the violence and destruction we saw last night.
“By improving the accountability of police, by increasing community involvement to promote better understandings between the community and police, and by being as transparent as possible, we can permanently improve the situation and change the narrative to the better. The healing won’t occur overnight, but it can and must be improved by working together.
“I hesitate to do this, because the situation in Kenosha stands on its own, but I am extremely shocked by the content of Governor Evers’ statement last night. The best leaders attempt to diffuse situations, not escalate them. Evers’ statement was irresponsible and inflammatory. He jumped to conclusions without first having all the facts. At a time when stereotyping situations is especially risky, Evers stereotyped every police interaction with people of color - harming both.
Last night, I asked the Governor to provide all necessary assistance to both the city and county of Kenosha, including the National Guard. I was told he was providing such assistance. After the events of yesterday afternoon and Evers’ statement last night, Kenosha will need all the help it can get - especially your prayers.”
State Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh)
“Last night, Jacob Blake was shot in the back by police officers seven times at close range in front of his children. Brutality like this towards Black people is a reoccurring event in our country. No matter how complicated systemic racism is, a representative government has a responsibility to do everything in its power to address the forces that disproportionately impact Black lives.
“While we don’t yet know the full details, we understand the long-lasting impact this will have on the Kenosha community. This morning, I am sending my sympathy to those effected by this tragic event and pray for Jacob’s recovery. His family is in my thoughts today.
“Black lives matter. We cannot stop repeating this until we understand its meaning and put that meaning into action. I stand with those who continue to peacefully march for Black Lives and equality in our country. I stand with those who want their leaders to act in support of real change. We can no longer turn away from the role systemic racism plays in our society.”
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R)
“I support a full and thorough investigation into the events leading up to yesterday’s officer-involved shooting in Kenosha. While emotions are understandably running high in the Kenosha community and elsewhere, I urge any demonstrators to remain peaceful and give our justice system the opportunity to work.”
U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R)
"We need the Wisconsin Department of Justice to conduct a thorough, independent, exhaustive investigation into the officer-involved shooting in Kenosha. We must support each other and our Kenosha community, and we cannot allow violence and destruction."
Jenevia Blanks, volunteer with the Wisconsin chapter of Moms Demand Action
"Our thoughts are with Jacob and his family as he fights for his life after he was shot in the back several times. Law enforcement officers take a pledge to protect and serve and we will fight for justice, a transparent and thorough investigation, and reforms to prevent future police shootings."
State Rep. Greta Neubauer (D-Racine)
“I am horrified, sickened and angry over the police shooting of Jacob Blake last night.
“It is long past time for deep and systemic change. Change in how we police, how we prosecute and how we incarcerate. But also change in how we invest in and strengthen our communities.
“Continued police violence against Black people is a symptom of the systemic racism and white supremacy deeply embedded in our country’s past and present. Leaders at every level — federal, state, local — cannot continue to stand by.
“I support the right to protest in Kenosha and I will be joining people in the streets. Today and in the days to come, my thoughts are with Jacob, his family, and his community, and I am sending them strength in this time.
“Black Lives Matter.”
Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D)
“What happened yesterday to Jacob Blake is an all too frequent experience for Black people in America.
"Jacob was shot in the back multiple times in front of his children. Trauma was inflicted on not only Jacob, but on his innocent children. My heart aches for him and his family. I am praying that he makes a full recovery from his serious injuries.
"We must rid our communities and our systems of the racism that results in biased policing practices, creating devastating tragedies for Black men and women. We all must treat racism as the public health emergency that it is and take appropriate action to keep other families and communities from being traumatized by these reckless shootings.
"The Wisconsin Department of Justice must conduct a thorough investigation as part of the process of ensuring that police officers are held accountable when excessive, violent force is used.
"I am tired of condemning these shootings which is why I joined my colleagues in the House in passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 7120) to begin making the steps necessary to build greater transparency, accountability and fairness in policing. I am calling for action from the Senate Majority Leader to bring this bill to the Senate floor. I am also calling on the majority in the Wisconsin State Legislature to take up the police reform measures laid out by our Governor and Lieutenant Governor earlier this year.
"The longer these bills languish the longer justice is delayed and denied. Our communities are calling for change right now, and they cannot and should not wait any longer for meaningful action.’’
Milwaukee Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa
"Like so many Wisconsinites, I was horrified to see the video of Jacob Blake being shot multiple times in the back by Kenosha police. Additionally, I understand that Mr. Blake’s children were in the car and witnessed their father being shot, a trauma no child should have to endure.
"This is a tragedy that should have and could have been prevented. As a state legislator and a new alderwoman in Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, I have heard sentiments coming from folks on all sides of this fight for police reform, Black Lives Matter, and the police budget.
"I write this statement, in particular, for the people of the 8th Aldermanic District. This is the district I represent on Milwaukee’s near south side, where I was born and raised. My constituents tell me that public safety is their number one concern. No mother should worry if their son will come home at night, no child should witness their father being brutally attacked and everyone in Wisconsin should feel safe in their own neighborhood. Public safety will always be compromised if any life is devalued more than another.
"Ours is arguably the most diverse district in the great state of Wisconsin, home to a 75% supermajority of people of color, a Latino-majority district, and a proud history of Polish and German immigrant families, many of whom still call the near south side home, I am proud to say.
"Public safety continues to be my #1 concern because I know that it is my constituents’ #1 concern. And it is why, as a state representative, a Milwaukee alderwoman, and a Wisconsinite, I condemn this senseless tragedy. We cannot have our law enforcement shooting constituents in the back multiple times, in front of their children.
"We must ask for justice, demand reform, and cry out, “Black Lives Matter.”
Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson
"This morning most of us woke up to news reports documenting unrest that occurred overnight in Kenosha after police shot Jacob Blake, who was unarmed, several times in the back yesterday evening. I hope Jacob makes a full and speedy recovery. My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family during this difficult time, and in particular his children, who witnessed this heinous event.
"This officer-involved shooting is yet another example of the deep-seated inequities that exist for Black residents across our city, state and country. For months now people have been taking to the streets in protest of these very actions, and while some progress has been made it is very clear we still have a long way to go.
"While much of the attention around protests and reform has been focused on larger cities like Milwaukee, Chicago and others, this serves as a sobering reminder that police reform must occur in smaller communities as well.
"We will not have achieved true justice until ALL people of color in communities big and small can feel safe and respected when in the presence of those who are sworn to serve and protect."
Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki
"It is with a heavy heart that I received the news about the shooting last night in Kenosha. While many of the details of this shooting are unknown to us, the general public, it is not difficult to imagine the pain, fear and anger felt by all who were present. I pray for healing for Jacob Blake and for comfort for his family and loved ones. I also pray for peace in Kenosha, as the situation remains volatile in the wake of this shooting. Violence can never be the means to attain peace and justice.
"The Church stands as a beacon of hope. The sins of violence, injustice, racism and hatred must be purged from our communities with acts of mercy, with the protection and care for the dignity of every human person, with respect for the common good, and with an unwavering pursuit of equality and peace. Together, let us pray to God for peace, justice, mercy and protection for every human being."
"The Bucks organization is praying for the recovery of Jacob Blake, who was shot multiple times in the back by a police officer at point blank range in Kenosha, Wisconsin yesterday. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.
"We stand firmly against reoccurring issues of excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging the black community.
"Our organization will continue to stand for all black lives as we demand accountability and systemic change on behalf of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sylville Smith, Ernest Lacy, Dontre Hamilton, Tony Robinson, Joel Acevedo and countless other victims. We will work to enact policy change so these incidents no longer exist."
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester)
“Like many in Wisconsin, I watched the events in Kenosha unfold last night and was disturbed by the video of the officer-involved shooting. Jacob Blake and his family are in my prayers and I hope for his recovery.
“It’s essential that we get a complete picture of what happened. I would ask that the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation meet its goal of completing a thorough investigation in 30 days. The Kenosha community deserves to know the totality of the circumstances leading up to the shooting. Before passing judgement, we have to know if the shocking 20-second video clip shared with the media tells the whole story.
“I was also deeply disturbed about what occurred in Kenosha: the demonstrators’ complete disregard to public safety, damage to personal property, and the attack on police. Moving forward, I encourage those who would like to express their frustration and anger to do so peacefully.
“This is not a time for political posturing or to suggest defunding law enforcement. When a community is hurting, the most important thing that we can do is to listen. That is why today, I am announcing a Speaker’s task force focusing on on racial disparities, educational opportunities, public safety, and police policies and standards. We must find a path forward as a society that brings everyone together.”
Representative Barbara Dittrich (R – Oconomowoc)
“Last night's police incident in Kenosha has left a sense of shock all the way from Wisconsin to Washington DC, where I am currently representing our state at a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Women's Suffrage.
“While there is one video perspective being widely circulated on social media, the public needs to hear the full story before we can understand what went wrong on Sunday evening. It would be irresponsible to rush to judgment before the Department of Justice completes its full investigation that is currently underway.
“Meanwhile, my prayers are with all who were impacted by what happened, and I stand with my colleagues in supporting exploration into how we can restore public trust while assuring safe communities. I urge my fellow Wisconsinites to remain peaceful while making their voices heard at this tragic time. The last thing our state and our nation needs at this time is for hurt to be added to hurt.”
Stephanie Bloomingdale, president of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO
"Yesterday, we were shocked by yet another police shooting of an unarmed Black man in Kenosha. Video shows a Kenosha police officer shooting Jacob Blake multiple times in the back at point blank range as he tried to get into his car. The horror was magnified by the presence of Mr. Blake’s young children in the vehicle. This is a shameful day for Kenosha, Wisconsin and our nation.
"The Wisconsin AFL-CIO extends deepest sympathy to Mr. Blake and his family and hope for his quick and complete recovery. Black Lives Matter. The time is long overdue to address systemic racism and police violence against communities of color.
"In this unprecedented time in America, we must not be satisfied with platitudes and cosmetic change. We must take a hard look at the factors that have led to Black people unjustly facing violence at the hands of those charged with protecting us and take meaningful steps to address them."
"Opportunity Wisconsin stands in solidarity with the Blake family, the protestors who have taken to the streets to demand justice, and people across Wisconsin traumatized by the police violence against Jacob Blake last night. The systemic racism that permeates our society requires urgent, intentional action, and Opportunity Wisconsin remains committed to its fight for equal economic opportunity for all, and in its support of those working tirelessly to reform how law enforcement engages with the communities they are sworn to serve. We need leaders who are not only committed to this work, but also to guaranteeing the right of every eligible voter to participate in our democracy, for these tenets are foundational to empowering and protecting Black communities."
State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point)
“We don’t need a task force. We need to roll up our sleeves, and do the work we were elected to do. We have a package of bills, ready to go since June. Let’s go to the floor August 31st and make real changes. The people of Wisconsin are demanding it.
“Many of the concepts in this package of bills are already the work of a task force convened years ago. And we certainly don’t need another report to highlight the glaring racial disparities that have given Wisconsin a bad name for far too long.
“Too many tragedies have resulted in too little action. We must do better to ensure Black Wisconsinites are treated equally in the eyes of the law and within our communities.”
Forward Latino President Darryl Morin
"Yesterday we saw the appalling video of yet another black man being shot by law enforcement. He was shot in front of his children, after attempting to de-escalate a dispute between two individuals. All reports indicate that he was unarmed. That man is now fighting for his life. His name is Jacob Blake.
"Most of us have seen the video of Mr. Blake being held by his shirt, and shot in the back, seven (7) times at point-blank range by an officer or officers of the Kenosha Police Department. Today we all stand together in praying for Mr. Blake and his family during this most difficult and tragic time.
"While we await the details and findings of the Wisconsin of Department of Justice, we reiterate our demands for a thorough and transparent investigation. An investigation that shares all relevant information and video footage with the family and the community.
"Today many are attempting to politicize the issue of public safety, using terms such as “Back the Badge.” How can this be in question as each year we, the taxpayers pay billions of dollars salaries and benefits to police officers. We pay billions more so that they can have the latest equipment and training. But beyond our investment in law enforcement, we trust them with a unique authority. We authorize them to take the life a person without a judge or jury when witnessing an imminent danger. This is an immense responsibility, and as such, demands equal accountability.
"The discussion needs to be about social justice, about public safety, about the law being applied and enforced equally to all without regard for color, religion, orientation, language or gender. It needs to be about us, not them. For our police will only be successful with community support, and our community needs officers who live up to their sworn oaths to protect all equally.
"So today as we await more details, we call for the following actions. First, we call for a thorough and transparent investigation. We call for a review of the Kenosha Police Department’s use of force policies. And lastly, we call for a review of the police departments timeline for full implementation community-oriented policing here in Kenosha.
"Thank you and may God place his healing hand on Jacob Blake and his family."
State Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee)
“I applaud Governor Evers for calling a special session next Monday, August 31st, to take up the bills Democrats drafted in early June. This package of bills would create accountability and transparency from Wisconsin law enforcement.
“The people of Wisconsin have been waiting since June for the Republicans who run the Legislature to call us into session to take up these bills.
“Speaker Vos and Senator Fitzgerald should stop hiding and step up to require all their members to attend the special session next Monday.
“It is time for Vos and Fitzgerald to do their part in this crisis by taking up this urgently needed legislation.
“Vacation time is over. It’s time to do the work we were elected to do.”
Milwaukee County Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde
“Before the inevitable dehumanization campaign begins—and while we ‘wait for more information’ to help us determine whether or not Jacob Blake’s dignity will be taken into consideration—I want to remind folks of the numerous incidents where white or white presenting men in predominantly white communities have pointed rifles at law enforcement officers and were taken into custody with little to no exchange in gunfire.
"I would also like to remind folks that narratives about depression, alcoholism, the pressures of quarantining from COVID-19 and the like are used to capture the humanity of white men when interacting with law enforcement, which is a luxury not afforded to Black men in our society.
"While our primary focus is on Jacob, his family and his full recovery, we must hold the officers involved and the Kenosha Police Department accountable for the assault on his life.
"It is impossible for a Black man to be seen as unarmed when interacting with law enforcement if you have weaponized his Blackness.”
Voces de la Frontera
"Last night, 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by Kenosha police officers as he was entering the driver’s side of an SUV. His three children, aged 3, 5, and 8, were in the car when the shooting happened.
"Voces de la Frontera Action stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and with Jacob and his family. Jacob should not be fighting for his life right now. His family and black communities, both in Wisconsin and nationally, deserve justice.
"Akousia Anning, the chair of the Voces de la Frontera Racine Demilitarization Action Committee, said:
“The same thing keeps happening, over and over. Yet again, we are being forced to watch this happen. Another black man shot by law enforcement. What we are seeing is that a black man walking away can be used by the police as an excuse to gun a black man down. I am in shock that, in the aftermath of George Floyd, that this can still be happening, in broad daylight, with a crowd gathering.
"This is not something we should expect to see after George Floyd. Where you see a black man who does not appear to have anything in his hands, in a situation that could have been deescalated. It shows a blatant disregard for black lives in this society.
"I am praying that this man pulls through, and that he finds some semblance of justice. But I am not even sure if he will find justice. The language we see already is that he was an agitator, that he was not listening to the police. None of that justifies taking a man’s life. Not listening does not mean you should be gunned down.”
"This is not about the need for police reform. This is about the need for systemic and structural change and the dire need to respect black life, in Wisconsin and nationally. Voces de la Frontera Action and the Voces de la Frontera Racine Demilitarization Action Committee will continue fighting for Black lives and for Black humanity. We emphasize the need to redirect funding to our communities and redirect police funds to social workers, our communities, and our neighborhoods. This divesting of funds is crucial to dismantling racism and systemic oppression.
"Christine Neumann-Ortiz, the Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera Action, said:
“The immediate outrage and protest to Jacob Blake’s shooting shows the strength of the national grassroots Black Lives Matter movement, which is fundamentally about challenging institutionalized racism and demanding police accountability. This momentum also has to be brought to our electoral organizing, because Trump is running on an explicit law and order platform, which is a dog whistle to his racist and white nationalist base. This ideology has been used for decades by both Republicans and Democrats to criminalize people of color and militarize the police.
"However, the Trump administration represents a historically unique threat. Our country is in a watershed moment of reckoning with systemic racism and police brutality, and Trump is doubling down on his far-right rhetoric and leaning on his racist base during this moment. We need to move this energy into our electoral organizing to drive out this authoritarian, white nationalist, far-right government that he seeks to create. Trump represents an escalated attack on decades of labor rights and civil rights movements. Everything we have experienced in the last four years will be unimaginably worse in the next four, if he is re-elected.”
"In response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, Voces de la Frontera Action and the Voces de la Frontera Racine Demilitarization Action Committee make a double call for action: a call for action at the local level, and a call for electoral action at the state level.
"At the local level, we invite allies to become actively involved in demilitarizing your neighborhoods, your schools, and your communities through local organizing initiatives. In Racine, the Youth Protection Resolution demands that Racine police presence be removed from Racine Public Schools and for decriminalization of youth traffic tickets. On the electoral level, we encourage all eligible citizens to vote for racial justice and police accountability in November. We furthermore encourage Wisconsin voters to become involved with the Voces de la Frontera Action Voceros por el Voto program, to build a network of 23,000 Latinx and multiracial youth voters. Together we can vote out the institutionalized racism that is criminalizing people of color and immigrants, creating a mass incarceration crisis, and allowing for the impunity of deadly violence against Black men, such as Jacob Blake from Kenosha."
WisGOP Chairman Andrew Hitt
“There is a tragic human cost whenever anyone is injured or dies while interacting with law enforcement. We must have a thorough accounting of the facts — it’s good that authorities have moved to quickly investigate this incident, but it’s clear we still don’t have the full picture. Our thoughts are with those involved and who witnessed the incident. We pray that the City of Kenosha finds calm during these turbulent times.
“As a former prosecutor, I know one of the most dangerous situations is when someone is walking away from law enforcement who already have firearms drawn and that person is going towards or reaching into a vehicle. That greatly enhances the risk that that person is obtaining a weapon that could be fatally used against law enforcement.
“Unfortunately Gov. Evers statement last night jumped to conclusions even while the full scope of events has yet to be released and that puts the Kenosha community at risk for more violence. Last night we saw businesses burn and an officer knocked unconscious after being smashed in the head with a brick. Leaders shouldn’t stoke mob violence with only grainy cell-phone videos. The governor’s statement provoked anger and fear at a time when Wisconsin needs the facts and a steady hand.”
Rep. Scott Allen (R-Waukesha)
"The use of force by the government or its agents on an individual is a serious action which deserves scrutiny. The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating the shooting of Jacob Blake which occurred in Kenosha on Sunday. Investigations to gather physical evidence and conduct interviews take time. They should be full and thorough, without predetermined conclusions and free of political interference from elected officials.
"It might be that the officers in this incident acted mercilessly, but in this environment, speculation from leaders is irresponsible. Gov. Evers may think his statement was cleverly worded, but his repeated fecklessness in the face of rioting and arson only emboldens unlawful behavior.
"Citizens collectively ask our law enforcement officers to intervene and assist in the most dangerous, unpredictable situations: domestic violence, persons with mental health challenges, even “routine” traffic stops. Officers are expected to make split-second, life-or-death decisions, and be right every time. American traditions and constitutional guarantees demand that each person, including those in law enforcement, are guaranteed a right to due process. That includes a fair, thorough, and complete investigation.
"Therefore, as a civil society, each of us needs to exercise restraint and not rush to judgment. Cooler heads must prevail.
"Similarly, a raft of largely partisan bills cannot and should not be strong-armed on the legislature through a special session. The legislature needs to dispassionately and intelligently consider reform rather than rush to pass something.
"I support the task force which Speaker Vos announced today to examine racial disparities, education, public safety, and police policies and standards, and I have requested the privilege of serving on that committee."
"The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) today issued the following statement in the shooting Sunday evening of a 29-year old black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Witnesses say he was trying to get into his van where his children, ages 3, 5 and 8 years old were already passengers. The man suffered seven gunshots to his back at close range. The Wisconsin National Guard has now been called out to quell civil unrest sparked by the shooting.
"Domingo Garcia LULAC National President: LULAC calls for an immediate and full investigation into the shooting of Jacob Blake which the nation and the world is seeing in disbelief replayed on the internet today. No reasonable person can accept a police department’s actions of shooting an unarmed man in the back repeatedly as he is getting into his vehicle while his family looks on in horror. The shooting shown in the video that’s been released on social media appears to be unjustified and unfortunately, another tragic incident of excessive use of deadly force against black and brown men shot by police with little regard for human lives.”
"Sindy Benavides LULAC National Chief Executive Officer: We applaud Governor Evers action of calling a special session on policing accountability and transparency. We expect a full and independent investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice and pray for Jacob Blake’s children and family. We ask for full justice for Jacob and demand full accountability from the police department on what transpired. Too many Black lives have been taken, we need reforms to policing now.”
"Lupe Martinez LULAC Wisconsin State Director: Although all details are not clear at this time, what is clear, based on the available video, is that another Black man was shot in the back by police officers. This must stop! LULAC stands with our Black brothers and sisters in a call for an immediate investigation in Kenosha and an immediate halt, nation-wide, to the senseless shootings by police officers. We stand in Unity with Black Lives Matter."
Muslim Advocates in Washington, DC; American Albanian Islamic Center of Wisconsin in Kenosha, Masjid Al-Huda and the Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition in Greenfield and the Islamic Society of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Islamic Dawah Center in Milwaukee
“Yet again, police officers committed horrifying, infuriating violence against a Black person. Our hearts go out to Jacob Blake, who we hope survives this shooting, and his family, which includes three young children who will have to live with witnessing this trauma for the rest of their lives. We condemn this police shooting and demand a thorough investigation in order to bring justice to Blake and his family. We also demand that the state of Wisconsin, the city of Kenosha and the Kenosha Police Department ensure that the officers who shot Blake are held accountable and that they take immediate steps to address how something so horrifying could and continues to happen.”
Statement by Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser
“The events that unfolded in our community over the last 24 hours are nothing short of tragic. My heart goes out to Jacob Blake and his family, and to everyone touched in some way by this horrific episode.
“We do not yet know many of the details of this officer-involved shooting, but we do know that it is the latest of a devastating series of events in our nation that have touched nerves and stoked fears about our relations with law enforcement, and with one another.
“Kenosha County recently declared racism to be a public health crisis, and our leaders — myself included — have resolved to address this issue in a meaningful way. Sunday’s tragedy and the ensuing reaction reinforce the need for change in our community.
“In the coming days, I’m hoping for a meeting of stakeholders of our whole community, that we have an attentive ear, talk about the next steps forward and set the path.
“In the meantime, I pray for Mr. Blake’s recovery, and for the safety of everyone in our county, our state and our nation.”
Citizen Action of Wisconsin
"Citizen Action of Wisconsin stands in solidarity with the family and friends of Jacob Blake, tens of thousands of protesters across the country fighting for racial justice and every person who loves humanity, in demanding that the officers involved in his shooting be brought to justice and meaningful actions against structural racism are immediately taken at the state, local and national levels.
"We very much need the officer who shot Jacob Blake, and other officers who stood by and watched, to be prosecuted quickly. Before we can even begin to heal, justice must be brought to the police officers involved in this racist shooting and anyone else who tries to cover it up.
"But the healing cannot stop there, because what happened to Jacob Blake, and all the other victims of publicly sanctioned racist violence, is ultimately caused not by a few bad apples, but the structural racism that is at the very core of the American criminal justice and policing system. The system of mass incarceration grew out of the backlash against the civil rights and black power movements of the 1960s and has made the U.S, the most incarcerated and over-policed country in the history of the free world. Only a massive shift in resources away from the publicly funded oppression of Black people, poor people, and all communities of color can begin to reverse structural racism. Ultimately structural racism cannot be addressed unless we deal with the unequal political power communities of color have in American society as a direct result of economic marginalization and inequality.
"There is much that needs to be done in Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s racial inequality is among the worst in the nation, including the highest disparity in incarceration rates between African American men and whites. In July 2020, a new report from the UWM Center on Economic Development ranks Milwaukee as the worst major city in the country for African American wellness, which includes a series of 30 health and economic measures.
"While we commend Governor Tony Evers for calling a special session of the Legislature and proposing some interim steps towards police reform, we urge the Governor to go further in addressing the root causes of structural racism and biased policing. We would like to see the Governor introduce his own major package of reforms up to the scale of the problem, including:
- Take meaningful steps to end the system of mass incarceration and biased policing, and instead invest in harm reduction, restorative justice, and both mental and physical health and other social supports which reduce the role of police in our communities. This should include the Wisconsin African American Civic Engagement Roundtable’s proposals to shift resources away from police and towards healthy communities and public health.
- Follow up on the campaign commitment you made in 2018 by supporting WISDOM /EXPO’s goal of ending mass incarceration, and take meaningful steps to reduce the incarceration rate by half by 2022 and create alternatives to prison for offenders.
- End police impunity for racial violence by eliminating qualified immunity, creating an independent prosecution section in the Department of Justice, so that conflicts of interest between local DAs and police do not stand in the way of justice, and the elimination of special rights for police not also held by all other public employees.
- Require that police who patrol Black and Brown communities also to live in those specific communities, to create a real stake for those charged with protecting public safety. If you are unwilling to live in the communities you police, you should not carry live and death powers over their residents.
"First, let me send peace and blessing to Jacob Blake and his family. No one should have to go through what y'all did yesterday. I hope justice will be done," said Rafael Smith, Climate and Equity Director for Citizen Action of Wisconsin. "Unfortunately, what happened in Kenosha is as American as apple pie. The killing of Black and Brown people by the state and it's racist vigilantes has been a permanent feature of our democracy. It is in our national DNA. As a proud Black man, I am tired of all the talk and demand real, substantial policies that will lead to the free abolishment of these racist systems."
“Our words are no longer enough. Our actions and deeds are how history will judge us in this moment,” said JoAnna Bautch, Movement Politics Director for Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Be sure you can say you did all you could to make sure this never happens again.”
“It is hard for us to believe that anyone other than a police officer would be able to avoid immediate arrest when such damning video evidence of a crime is available,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Jacob Blake should be with his family today, not fighting for his life in an intensive care unit, and prosecuting officers for his shooting is the start, not to the attainment of justice.”
State Senator Duey Stroebel (R – Cedarburg)
"While I have seen the video of the recent shooting in Kenosha, I know a full investigation from Wisconsin’s Department of Justice (DOJ) is needed to bring clarity to the current environment of jumping to conclusions. In the short term, I hope our communities remain peaceful and that any protests avoid the senseless violence that deepens our country’s divisions. In the long term, I hope DOJ completes a thorough and comprehensive investigation. Unlike Governor Evers, I plan to avoid ascribing blame or scoring political points while the investigation of events is ongoing.”
Representative Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton)
“Last night, many witnessed the terrifying display of violent brutality against Jacob Blake in Kenosha. People across our nation watched in disbelief as Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times in front of his children. This is yet another shocking wake up call for the overdue and undone work we must undertake to dismantle systemic racism. I pray for Jacob Blake, and his family as he fights for his life.
“Today, Governor Evers called for a special session to take up legislation on policing accountability and transparency. I join in his call to set politics aside and push for legislative action. This session, proactive proposals were introduced, aimed at addressing inequities in our current system. In June, the Legislative Black Caucus outlined a series of policies that we could take up this session in a letter to Governor Evers. I stand with the Black Caucus in their efforts. We need action. It is our responsibility to pass meaningful reform."
WISDOM for Justice
"Our eyes observed yet another officer-involved shooting of an unarmed Black man when we saw the video of Jacob Blake being shot multiple times by a Kenosha police officer.
"As faith representatives in Southeastern Wisconsin, we express our shock and anger at what appears to be an unjustified and overwhelming use of force. We assure the Blake family of our continued prayer and support.
"Sometimes it takes time for our spirits to come to grips with what our eyes have seen. While there has been a raising of consciousness in our country, it is self-evident that there is still a lot of work to be done in our country when it comes to race relations, the role of police, and a punitive criminal justice system as a whole.
"Over the years, the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee (IFCGM), WISDOM, and Congregations United to Serve Humanity (CUSH) have advocated for social justice and criminal justice reform to ensure that the dignity of every human being is respected. However, it seems clear from the ever-increasing number of incidents that much more work is necessary to make this a reality.
"Communities continue to hurt, and this pain is available for all to see, who choose to see. Disconnection and division are used to justify harm against those already marginalized. Police officers are trained to be overly dependent on power tactics instead of conflict de-escalation. Mental health is treated by our society as an afterthought, where it needs to be a central priority. We are failing our communities, our nation, and the sacredness of life that our diverse faith communities celebrate.
"Moving forward, it is not enough to sit behind statements of intent without action. We must implement a community policing strategy to ensure a connection between police officers and the communities they serve. All must be held accountable for their actions; governments, public safety boards, and police officers who violate community trust.
"The vision of the IFCGM, WISDOM, and CUSH is to bring about a society where all people are loved and valued. We encourage everyone to embrace this spiritual vision and to implement equitable policies and systems as we move forward."
Wisconsin Professional Police Association
"While the WPPA represents more than 10,000 members from over 300 local association affiliates, the officers in the Kenosha Police Department are not among them. The WPPA’s legal and field staff are not involved in the investigation being conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and as such, we are limited as to what we can say about the incident at this early stage of the investigation.
"On behalf of Wisconsin’s law enforcement community, our hearts go all those impacted by the shooting of Jacob Blake. We recognize the pain that this incident has caused Mr. Blake and his family, and we hope he makes a full recovery. We also want to acknowledge the legitimate concerns of those that are troubled by the actions depicted in the traumatic bystander video of the incident. We understand how the video is emblematic of an experience that is familiar to many Americans of color, and we regret the hurt that this incident and those like it continue to inflict.
"To all those so affected by Mr. Blake’s shooting, please know that your voices, your questions, and your lives matter. The WPPA supports your right to have your questions answered as soon as possible to the greatest extent possible. Wisconsin led the way when it became the first state in the nation to mandate the independent investigation by an outside agency any time a serious use of force incident such as this occurs. We urge the public to respect this independent process before rendering judgment. Little can be gained from painting law enforcement with a broad brush, as some have done – including Gov. Evers. While we respect the concerns that exist about policing, we hope the pursuit of social justice does not come at the expense of procedural justice.
"As Wisconsin’s largest law enforcement group, we have a long history of undertaking and supporting efforts to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities it serves. For that reason, we wholeheartedly support Gov. Evers’ decision to call a special session of the legislature to begin addressing these issues. We also support the formation of a task force by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to focus on these issues from a broader, more systemic perspective. The approaches outlined by Gov. Evers and Robin Vos are not mutually exclusive and they both warrant serious consideration. We share the urgency expressed by the governor and we respect the long-term view advanced by the speaker. We urge these leaders to support one another and their distinctive strategies to affect meaningful change. Doing so will depend upon their ability to bring people together, the fair exercise of judgment, and a genuine dedication to achieving the kind of progress that will protect our citizens as well as the dedicated men and women that work to keep them safe."
Wisconsin District Attorneys’ Association Board
"The Wisconsin District Attorneys’ Association offers its thoughts and prayers to all those involved in the Kenosha officer involved shooting, which occurred on August 23, 2020. We especially pray for the recovery of Jacob Blake.
"An investigation by the Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is underway into the circumstances of the shooting. DCI is acting as an outside agency to investigate the shooting, and the investigators employed by DCI are among the very best in determining and documenting the facts of such an incident. A prosecutor then will need to make a decision on how to proceed in the light of that investigation.
"We are a society of laws, and the law will be followed, and justice will be done. If we want justice to be reached, the investigation must be thorough and complete. Our system of laws supports the right of each citizen to make their voices heard, but that same system of laws does not support doing so by harming people or property. Destruction of public and private property is not consistent with a society that seeks justice. We implore all citizens to promote peace in this difficult time."