From The New York Times, I'm Michael Barbaro. This is The Daily. Today, the police shooting of Jacob Blake and the violent aftermath. My colleague, Julie Bozman has been in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It's Thursday, August 27. Julie, how did you first hear about this shooting? So on Sunday night, I was home in Chicago and a text popped up on my phone from a friend of mine. And when I looked at the text, I saw that it was a link to a video about an incident that had happened in Kenosha, Wisconsin, my hometown.
And this is a cell phone video that was taken from an apartment window. And it's looking down on an altercation happening in the street involving a man that we will later learn is Jacob Blake.
And what you can see in this video is an SUV.
There are several officers standing on a sidewalk right next to it. And Jacob Blake is seen walking along the passenger side of this SUV away from the officers who are yelling at him. And at that point, at least one officer points a gun at Jacob Blake and Jacob Blake continues to walk around the front of the vehicle. He opens the driver's side door and then one of the officers shoots him several times in the back.
And we later learned that he was taken to a hospital and that he survived the shooting down by late Sunday evening.
There were marches, there were demonstrations, and there was also unrest. There were trucks that were burned. There were fires that were set. People were throwing things at the police. It was a really tense scene. And so what do you decide to do so first thing the next morning got in my car and drove north an hour and a half to Kenosha? Mm hmm. I first went to the neighborhood where Jacob Lake was shot. And what I found there were neighbors sitting outside talking to each other, just dazed by what had happened, trying to piece together the shooting.
And what did you learn from talking to them about what had happened? It seemed like a lot of neighbors had seen Jacob just before. They had seen him out on the front lawn barbecuing. They had seen him playing with his kids earlier that day. But just before the shooting, there had been some kind of disagreement between two people, and that's when the police arrived on the scene. We know that the police were apparently summoned there to help. And then we know what we saw in the video.
But it's not clear yet what exactly happened in the minutes leading up to it. So, Julie, as you're talking to people and they're trying to make sense of this shooting that's happened in their neighborhood, what happens on Monday as the day unfolds, the way that day kind of unfurled, it felt to me almost like one continuous protest.
The protesting kind of never stopped. And by mid-afternoon on Monday, the mayor of Kenosha, John A. Meehan, had not yet made any public statement about what had happened in his city the night before.
So he stepped out of what we were talking about inside. At one point, he tried to speak to protesters. The NRA has a history of trying to do the right thing. We don't know.
And he was really drowned out by people who are just furious over what had happened. And he tried to urge calm. He tried to send people the message that he was listening because you weren't even willing to let me come out to talk to you.
But in the moment, it just didn't feel like enough water. And he went inside the building.
So after the mayor goes back inside, what ends up happening? So on Monday evening, I was covering protests at the park outside of the courthouse and what I saw were hundreds of people who were all chanting together Jacob Blake's name and confronting the police.
And at this point, this was just a very, very chill protest.
People were coming out of their houses and, you know, pumping their fists and honking their horns in agreement with the protest. And at one point, an older couple came outside and and had a little bullhorn and they were chanting and cheering the protesters on. But, you know, as the night wore on, a lot of people left and the mood of the crowd changed and it turned into a gathering with a much more destructive edge on Sheridan Road. People were starting fires.
And there are these kind of old street lamps and people were knocking over the street lamps so that they smashed into the street. They were throwing fireworks at the police who at this point had been joined by National Guardsmen and the police and the National Guard were trying to disperse the protesters without a lot of black. This went on for hours and close to midnight. I had gotten back in my car, I was driving through the streets and I saw huge billowing, pink tinged smoke in the distance.
And it honestly took me a minute just to process what was happening because I was driving in such a such a familiar place, a street that I have driven on hundreds of times in my life. And as I pulled up, parked the car and stepped outside, what I saw was an entire block on fire in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
And I could see that neighbors were everywhere. They had brought their children out onto their front porches. They were standing in the middle of the street on the sidewalks just staring.
And when I started talking to people, you know, I discovered that their reactions were really complicated.
What do you mean? So some people said, oh, my God, this is horrible. This is our neighborhood. Our neighborhood is burning what is happening to our city? They told me what businesses were there, that it was a mattress store, that it was a Mexican restaurant. Someone told me that, you know, it was the little kind of cafe where he got his coffee every morning.
And then a lot of people said, look, this is a totally appropriate response to what happened to Jacob Blake.
This is a totally appropriate response to the oppression of the black community in this city and in this country, like I talked to a man who was standing there smoking a cigarette and just said, look, I'm really sorry to see this, but like, if this is what it takes and this is what it takes.
And then I got back in my car and I called the Kenosha County sheriff and he said basically we're just outnumbered.
We only have about 200 police officers. And he said, we have National Guard, but we don't have enough National Guardsmen and we've got 911 calls pouring in all night. And, you know, we just kind of get there too late. So I realize that tomorrow is probably also going to be a long day. So I decided it was just time to get home.
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So really, what happens on Tuesday, so on Tuesday afternoon, Jacob Blake's family announced that they were going to hold a news conference outside of the courthouse. So around 3:00 p.m., I'm outside of the courthouse with a bunch of other reporters, long line of TV cameras and the family of Jacob Blake arrives hoping that some of them were crying, clutching each other.
You know, obviously very emotional.
I'd like to thank everyone for coming out in support of my son with this senseless attempted murder that was committed on when Jacob Blake Senior stepped forward.
They. They shot my son. He almost couldn't speak. Seven times seven. Lucky didn't matter, but my son matters. He's a human being and he matters. And then we heard from Julia Jackson, Jacob Blake's mother, as I was right in through here to this city, I noticed a lot of damage. It doesn't reflect my son or my family.
She mentioned the damage that she had been seeing around Kenosha, and she spoke very powerfully of reconciliation to shake up justice on this level and examine your hearts. We need healing.
And then we heard from one of his sisters.
So how many people have reached out to me telling me they're sorry that this happened to my family? Well, don't be sorry, because this has been happening to my family for a long time, longer than I can account for. It happened to Emmett Till. Emmett Till is my family member for Landow, Mike Brown. Sandra, this has been happening to my family and I shed tears for every single one of these people that it's happened to me. This is nothing new.
I'm not sad. I'm not sorry. I'm angry and I'm tired.
I think that she just really wanted people to to hear that and understand that this was bigger than her brother. And what did the family say about Jacob Blake's condition? You know, for the last two days, people had been asking, how is he doing?
Is he going to survive this when at least seven, as many as eight bullets from point blank range and the human body and shred through the tissue of the human body?
They went into a lot of detail about what he was experiencing physically that that can cause and did in this case, severe and likely permanent injury. He had a bullet go through some or all of his spinal cord.
One of the bullets had severed his spinal cord, which doctors believed would paralyze him partially, probably permanently. They said that it would take a miracle for him to walk again.
He has holes in his stomach. He had to have nearly his entire colon and small intestines removed.
They really wanted to drive home the the physicality of that of the suffering that he is enduring. And they wanted to really put those facts out there and not hide them.
Jacob has a long road ahead of them. A lot of rehabilitation. You heard he's in surgery right now and it is not going to be his last surgery. They also said that he has been awake. He was conscious.
One of the questions from reporters was, what does he think of all of this? He does not know what's going on. When the answer from the family was really he doesn't understand that this is going on. He's heavily medicated. He's in a lot of pain that he was still fighting for his life. So he's no idea in the condition he's in that he has become. A symbol for a powerful symbol, yeah, it appears not it appears that he is largely unaware of everything that's happening.
The first thing he did when he looked at me was cried and then begin to say, I'm sorry about all of this. I asked him, Jacob, did you shoot yourself in the back? He looked at me and he said. I said, Then why are you sorry? He says, Because I don't want a burden on anybody. I want to be with my children. And I don't think I'm going to walk again. Mom.
So I left that news conference and prepared for the evening ahead, I grew up here and I've never seen so many people in the downtown area at one time, and the evening began with a lot of gatherings near the courthouse.
This is really kind of the heart of where all the protests have been happening in Kenosha.
A lot of protest leaders were talking to the crowds and saying this is a night that we want things to be peaceful. Let's focus on why we're all here. And around eight o'clock, everyone's phones started screeching.
You can hear that resulted in unlawful assembly.
And it was an emergency alert from the city warning everyone that there was a curfew in effect and they were required to go home.
We are asking that you please go home. A lot of people did peel off at that point, but about 150 people remained in the park.
There's a lot going on and it's sort of surreal, actually. This evening felt a little different.
It felt much more tense tonight.
It feels rather lawless. There are people riding motorcycles around on the square. There are armored vehicles driving over the square, and people have long guns that they're holding openly.
There were a couple of guys who had come to the park who were decked out in camo flak jackets and they were carrying long guns.
And when I went to talk to them, they told me that they were part of a Facebook group that had started that day, which was a group of mostly men who had decided that they were going to defend their city that night, that they were sick of watching what had happened on their phones from their homes.
They were sick of, you know, being afraid of fires and destruction. And they were going to come out and they had chosen to meet up in the very place where the protesters were. They told me that they were not opposed to the Black Lives Matter movement, that they respected the right of the protesters to be there, but they felt that the BLM movement had been hijacked by agitators from the outside.
And Julie, what did it mean to them, as best you could tell, to defend their city?
They were just very simply going to divide up, stand on street corners, stand there with guns and use them if necessary. They just said, look, if the police aren't going to protect us, then we'll protect ourselves.
So at this point, if protesters on the street because of this police shooting and now you have citizens with guns acting like police officers and their minds to protect the community. So what happens next?
Well, as you can imagine, it's a very volatile mix.
And as we, you know, proceeded through the night, it's Tuesday night, about nine, 30, and for close to an hour now.
Excuse me, we've been in a bit of a standoff with police and demonstrators facing off against each other, a lot of people who had remained were throwing water bottles and engaging with the police in a sometimes violent way.
And the protesters have been throwing lit fireworks at the police. And the police have now begun to respond with quite a bit of tear gas and with rubber bullets.
For hours, this back and forth continued of people in the crowd throwing things at the police, sending live fireworks.
That way, the fireworks exploding right next to the police officers who were all in riot gear and shields.
And when the police finally responded with enough tear gas, like a pretty overwhelming amount of tear gas on the crowd, that finally pushed everyone out of the park.
And what happens next? What happened next is that the crowd did begin to disperse a bit and I ended up joining some of the people who had remained in the crowd further down the street where they had started to gather at this gas station.
There were these groups of men in militia gear. They were holding long guns and they were confronting the people in the crowd.
Sometimes there was some shoving. They were yelling at each other. They were circling each other. And it just became this scene that to me felt scary to me.
It felt like the situation was a little out of control. So I decided to get in my car and leave.
And it was just a short while later, less than a half hour later, when I had started watching the live streams on Facebook and saw that there are reports of a shooting by police.
You see the man running down the street. This is after he allegedly shot someone in the stomach at a gas station.
He's walking down the street very, very close to that gas station on that same street. And it looked from the videos that it was involving the same people.
And then what transpires as you see him firing at people as they are coming up in what appears to be trying to grab him to stop and you see one person fall on the ground, you see another gunshot go off. You can hear a lot of yelling.
And Julie, what do we know about this shooting and do we know who did the shooting?
So what we know so far is that three people were shot. Two of those people died. We also know that police have now arrested a teenager they believe is the shooter. And he's a 17 year old white male from Antioch, Illinois, which is just across the state border. And we don't know why he was there. But authorities say that they are investigating whether he was a member of a vigilante group.
And his social media accounts appear to show an intense affinity for guns, for law enforcement and for President Trump. Julia, mindful that take Blake's mother, had implored the community to have peaceful protests. She seemed very upset by the destruction. And now, of course, it's not just destruction. There have been two deaths.
Yeah, I mean, I think that, you know, what happened on Tuesday night was incredibly tragic for a lot of people. It compounds the tragedy of what happened on Sunday to Jacob Blake. And I think a lot of people are just grappling with how to move forward with these demonstrations. There's a lot of worry right now in Kenosha among people who've been out here night after night, who have been trying to bring attention to the issue of police brutality.
How does this change the debate? How is it going to be manipulated politically? You have the Republican National Convention happening this week, right? President Trump said that he was going to send in federal troops to Kenosha. The governor of the state said that he was going to send five hundred additional National Guardsmen.
Does all of this muddy the message somehow? And I think that's one thing that a lot of people here are grappling with at the moment. Jill, you're talking about the message that will emerge from Kenosha, and it strikes me that one of the things that's different in this case. Regardless of what images come to dominate, how people see what's happened there, is it the person at the center of this case is still alive. He's sitting in a hospital.
And while he may not understand what he represents to the world, presumably he will eventually understand it and he will be drawn into the way that this story is being told. He will talk about it. And and so he will be a living symbol. Unlike George Floyd, unlike Brianna Taylor, unlike Richard Brooks.
I think that's one of the things that makes this this so unique. This whole week, the city of Kenosha has been turned inside out over this shooting, but we have not yet heard from the man who is, like you said, in a hospital bed. And we don't know yet what he thinks about all of this.
We don't know yet what he has to say about it, how he'll choose to participate in it. And in the end, it will be his story to tell. Kelly, thank you very much. Thank you, Michael. On Wednesday night, the Wisconsin Department of Justice offered new details about the shooting of Jacob Blake.
It said the police were summoned to his block based on a call from a woman who was not identified, reporting that her boyfriend was not supposed to be on the premises during the encounter that followed, the statement said police fired a Taser at Blake while trying to subdue him, but failed to stop him. It was then, as Blake walked to the driver's side door of his car, opened it and leaned in, that an officer shot him seven times at some point.
The statement said Blake told police he had a knife in his possession, which was eventually recovered from inside his car. What role, if any, that a knife played in the shooting remains unclear. Later on Wednesday night, the U.S. Department of Justice said that it would open a federal civil rights investigation into Blake's shooting. Meantime, athletes from the NBA, WNBA, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer all boycotted games on Wednesday in response to Blake shooting.
The NBA walkout was organized by the Milwaukee Bucks of Wisconsin in a move that stunned the league. We'll be right back. For over 100 years, Southern Company has been providing the resilient energy solutions their customers and communities count on no matter what, they're committed to building a brighter tomorrow and improving their customers quality of life by setting a goal of net zero carbon emissions and investing in local communities. Learn more about why Southern Company believes resilient people make resilience possible at Southern Company Dotcom's Resilience Southern Company Building the Future of Energy.
Here's what else you need to know. So, look, this is a very serious storm. In the five years I've been governor, I don't believe I've had a press conference where it was my intention to convey the sense of urgency that I am trying to convey right now.
On Wednesday night, Hurricane Laura, a major Category four storm, was headed for the coasts of Louisiana and Texas, prompting dire warnings from state leaders.
And understand our state hasn't seen a storm surge like this in many, many decades.
We haven't seen the National Hurricane Center said that the storm has sustained winds of up to 150 miles per hour and could deliver, quote, unsurvivable storm surges that could reach 40 miles inland. It is expected to make landfall early this morning.
And the violence must stop, whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha. Too many heroes have died defending our freedom to see Americans strike each other down.
On the third night of the Republican National Convention, Vice President Mike Pence denounced this summer's violent unrest in America's cities and cast himself and President Trump as firm allies of the police.
We will have law and order on the streets of this country for every American of every race and creed and color.
In his speech, Pence framed the election as a choice about the kind of country and economy that America will become once the pandemic is over.
On November 3rd, you need to ask yourself who do you trust to rebuild this economy? A career politician who presided over the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression, or a proven leader who created the greatest economy in the world.
The choice is clear to bring America all the way back.
We need four more years of President Donald Trump in the white.
That's it for The Daily, I'm Michael Barbaro. See you tomorrow. Would you pay 100 dollars for a six pack of beer, could you, as climate change disrupts global agriculture? We're approaching a future where everyday items, including beer, will be far more expensive. Of course, beer will be the least of our problems. The economic consequences of climate change will make 2020 look small in comparison. That's why fat tire amber ale is now America's first national carbon neutral certified beer.
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