Burning cars in Wisconsin after police shoot reportedly unarmed black man

Trump Jr shares unconnected arrest history of unarmed black man Jacob Blake, hours after he was shot by police

Mr Blake is expected to recover from his injuries

Graig Graziosi
Monday 24 August 2020 20:18
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Donald Trump Jr retweeted a right-wing commentator on Monday who called attention to the prior criminal convictions of an unarmed black man who was shot by police over the weekend.

A widely-spread video shows Jacob Blake, 29, attempting to enter his SUV while a police officer is following him closely. As Mr Blake goes to enter the vehicle, the police officer grabs his shirt and fires seven times into his back. Mr Blake goes limp and falls onto his SUV's horn.

Mr Blake's three sons were in the back seat of the vehicle and witnessed the shooting.

Police said they were called to the scene to respond to a domestic disturbance, but it is unclear who called the police and what was happening prior to the video. Two officers are on administrative leave over the incident.

On Monday, right-wing commentator Andy Ngo wrote a tweet pointing out Mr Blake's criminal history. Mr Ngo has built a following by travelling to cities where civil unrest is occurring and reporting on events in a way that feeds into the right-wing culture war narrative championed by Mr Trump and his allies.

In Mr Ngo's tweet, he points out that Mr Blake at one point was arrested for pulling a gun on another patron at a bar. During the arrest, Mr Blake caused "a soft tissue injury" to a police officer, which Mr Ngo describes as "a history of assaulting police." He was charged with resisting arrest, carrying a gun while intoxicated, endangering safety-use of a dangerous weapon, and disorderly conduct.

Mr Ngo also referenced Mr Blake's past charges for a third-degree sexual assault and domestic violence. Neither of those crimes carry death penalties.

In addition to amplifying Mr Ngo, Mr Trump Jr also conflated protesting and rioting in a tweet on Monday in response to the unrest sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

The president's son posted a video that showed lines of burning vehicles in the lot of a flaming car dealership, and wrote "Peaceful Protests."

The video, posted by another right-wing Youtuber, includes the caption "Up close look at the car dealership fire set by BLM arsonists in Wisconsin."

Protests and some rioting, which included looting and arson, broke out in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the shooting of Mr Blake. As of Monday, there is no evidence that suggests the arsonists were connected to the Black Lives Matter movement at either an organisational or ideological level.

Mr Blake is recovering in the hospital and is expected to survive.

The video of the shooting was released by attorney Ben Crump, who is also representing the family of George Floyd.

The state's governor, Tony Evers, released a statement Sunday concerning the shooting.

"Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin," he wrote. "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."

Mr Evers said he stands with the protesters.

"We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity, and accountability for Black lives in our community," he said. "And we stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites."

Mr Trump Jr is an obedient booster of his father's talking points and culture war rhetoric. On Twitter, he regularly posts condemnations of protesters and uses fear mongering language to appeal to the party's base.

"Folks, this is coming to a town near you if Democrats win in November," he wrote on Monday on a video he retweeted that shows a burning business. "Is this still "peaceful protesting?" Has a single democrat denounced this anarchy yet? It is up to you if you want this in your backyard or not."

The vast majority of protesting and the much smaller number of incidents which have involved looting or property destruction have occurred in cities, and even then only in specific sections of the cities.

He has also railed against antifa - which Trump-world uses as a catch-all to demonise street-level protesters - and once even directed his followers to a fake antifa Twitter account in an attempt to prove antifascists were going to commit acts of violence.

It later was discovered the group Mr Trump Jr was referencing was a white nationalist group posing as an antifascist group.

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