FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2020
West End Strategy Team
Accountability, Improved Police-Community Relations Critical After Police Shooting of Black Kenosha, Wis. Man
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence calls for justice in shooting of Jacob Blake in front of his children
WASHINGTON — On Sunday, police in Kenosha, Wis., shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back as his three sons watched from the car he was trying to get into.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), which approaches gun violence as a public health issue, is working to generate awareness of the fact that police violence is a form of gun violence and must be treated as such in terms of the disastrous impact it has on deteriorating trust between law enforcement and the communities officers are charged with protecting. One-thousand Americans are shot and killed by police every year, according to The Washington Post’s “Fatal Force” database. Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by police shootings and are killed at more than twice the rate as white Americans.
Kami Chavis, vice president for strategy and programming at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, released the below statement. She is also professor of law and director of the criminal justice program at the Wake Forest University School of Law.
“The Kenosha police officers responsible for shooting Jacob Blake used their guns as a violent tool of power and racism, and their actions must be immediately investigated. Blake, like so many Black men before him wounded or killed by police officers’ triggers, must see justice.
“Lethal force must be reserved for situations when individuals are in imminent danger. While details of Sunday’s incident are forthcoming, no available evidence points to a scenario in which Blake’s actions warranted shooting him multiple times in the back in front of his children. Blake and his family will suffer from the physical and psychological wounds of these officers’ cowardly behavior for the rest of their lives. Clearly, the Kenosha officers learned little from protests across the country calling for an end to the scourge of police violence and racism against Black men and others.
“Jacob Blake’s name is now another on a long list of those who have been harmed or killed as a result of bias, racial injustice and gun violence. It is up to law enforcement to take the responsibility to work with the communities they protect, not against them.
“We appreciate that the officers involved are now on administrative leave as Wisconsin officials investigate the situation. This is but a first step in ensuring justice for Jacob Blake.”
CSGV echoes the statement released by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, “While we do not have all the details yet, what we know for certain is 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 in our country.” CSGV applauds Evers for acting quickly to call the Wisconsin State Legislature into a special session on policing accountability and transparency.
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About the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Founded in 1974, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention organization. We believe gun violence should be rare and abnormal. CSGV develops and advocates for evidence-based solutions to reduce gun injury and death in all its forms.