Jacob Blake Shooting Revives Protests

Tyler Chrenka, Staff Writer

As the turmoil resulting from the death of George Floyd was easing up, America has been sent back into a frenzy of division. Jacob Blake, a black man, was shot seven times by a white police officer on Aug. 23. 

The situation arose when police responded to a call in Kenosha, Wis., a city about 40 miles south of Milwaukee, on the evening of Aug. 23, the New York Times reported.

In a video on social media, which was recorded by a bystander, Blake can be seen walking in front of his SUV away from multiple officers. As he opens the door to get into his car, seven gunshots are fired into his back. 

Though Blake did not die, this attack resembles the killing of George Floyd, which occurred on May 5 in Minneapolis, Minn., when a white police officer was caught on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck. Floyd’s death sparked an ongoing civil rights movement, which has grown to be one of the largest in American history.

Like the death of Floyd, Blake’s shooting has caught national attention, surprising many that there has been yet another incident of police brutality in the middle of this ongoing movement. 

Junior Grace Kalb understands why people are surprised that this occurred so soon after Floyd’s death, but the news of a new shooting was no shock to her. 

“You would think it would be surprising but honestly, it’s not,” Kalb said. “Police officers are not getting punished the way that they should, so why would they stop if they do not see any consequences?” 

The perceived lack of punishment of the officers is causing some, including Junior Tarielle Cook, to ask questions about the legitimacy of the police departments in the U.S. Not only does Cook think that the police are being let off too easily for their crimes, but she also believes that the motive for the brutality against Black American’s stems from racial prejudice. 

“I strongly believe that police officers treat white people with way more respect when it comes to placing someone under arrest,” Cook said. “I also believe that police officers seem more eager to kill or fight or shoot someone when they are a person of color.”

Others, however, condemn these events but do not think they are race-related.

Sophomore Tyler Dacus believes work can be done on both sides to prevent future incidents. 

“I think that the Jacob Blake shooting was a tragedy, and I think there were ways it could have been prevented on both sides…,” Dacus said. “…but I don’t see this case as racially motivated.” 

The incident has caused both peaceful and violent demonstrations to occur across the country, fueling debate between American’s concerning what is and isn’t appropriate. 

Dacus respects the peaceful demonstrations but doesn’t see the point in rioting or looting. 

“I respect the people peacefully protesting because I think they are doing something about what they see as wrong,” Dacus said. “The riots, however, are hurting small businesses in their own communities already affected by corona.”

Cook, on the other hand, has worries about her father that have made her more tolerant of the demonstrations.

“The recent attacks have made me feel more worried than ever about my father who is a black man… so I do think about all the recent and past black men who lost their lives by the hands of police because that could easily be my dad right along with them,” Cook said. “…and while I don’t condone the violence, I do understand why people are so angry and feel as if violence is the only option left to get their voices heard.”