‘This past year has been difficult’: Gov. Tony Evers shares statement on anniversary of Jacob Blake shooting

MADISON, Wis. — One year after a Kenosha police officer shot Jacob Blake, Jr. in the back multiple times, Gov. Tony Evers said state leaders need to keep working toward “a just, equitable, and fair state.”

Blake, a Black man, was shot multiple times the evening of Aug. 23, 2020. The shooting, which paralyzed Blake from the waist down, spurred protests against police during a summer that had already seen marches nationwide in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

“One year ago today, Jacob Blake’s life was forever changed,” Evers said. “While we are grateful Jacob survived his injuries, we also know Jacob, his kids, and his family have and will face challenges they never imagined having to endure.”

Consistent calls from activists and community members led to the eventual formation of a task force to find legislative solutions to racial inequities in the state. The task force ultimately made 18 recommendations but failed to come to a consensus on a definition for use-of-force.

“This past year has been difficult, and especially for the Kenosha community as they have worked to come together to repair and rebuild,” Evers said.  “Wisconsin has taken important steps to increase transparency for use of force policies and incidents, limit the use of chokeholds, and require state-managed law enforcement agencies to update their use of force policies, but this is only the beginning. We must remain resolved in addressing the systemic racism and inequities Black Wisconsinites face every day and to continuing our work toward a just, equitable, and fair state.”

Some of the recommendations made by the task force — including creating standards for when an officer may use force and deadly force — were signed into law earlier this month

Read Evers’ full statement below.:

“One year ago today, Jacob Blake’s life was forever changed. While we are grateful Jacob survived his injuries, we also know Jacob, his kids, and his family have and will face challenges they never imagined having to endure. We also know the families and friends of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber are undoubtedly grieving and mourning the loss of these young men this week. Kathy and I are thinking of Jacob and his loved ones, as well as the families and friends of Joseph and Anthony today, and we ask Wisconsinites to join us in extending our prayers for peace and healing.

“This past year has been difficult, and especially for the Kenosha community as they have worked to come together to repair and rebuild. Wisconsin has taken important steps to increase transparency for use of force policies and incidents, limit the use of chokeholds, and require state-managed law enforcement agencies to update their use of force policies, but this is only the beginning. We must remain resolved in addressing the systemic racism and inequities Black Wisconsinites face every day and to continuing our work toward a just, equitable, and fair state.”