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Hurricane Laura Makes Landfall
Hurricane Laura live coverage: 1 dead after ‘extensive’ damage to Louisiana; forecasters warn of ‘life-threatening storm surge’
Ryan W. Miller, Trevor Hughes, Rick Jervis, Doyle Rice, USA Today, Aug. 27, 2020
Hurricane Laura roared ashore on the border of Texas and Louisiana as a Category 4 storm early Thursday, ripping apart buildings, severing power lines and clogging streets with debris as a dangerous storm surge trailed behind. OVer 650,000 customers were without power.
With sustained winds of 150 mph, Laura’s eye made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, at about 1 a.m. CDT before plowing a path of destruction north toward Arkansas, where the weakened storm was predicted to then curve east through Kentucky and Tennessee by Friday evening.
By 10 a.m. CDT, sustained winds were 75 mph, and the storm had dropped to a Category 1 hurricane, forecasters said. While Laura was expected to weaken rapidly into a tropical storm by this afternoon, forecasters continued to warn of flooding danger.
The National Hurricane Center said in its update that “damaging winds and flooding rainfall” were spreading over western and central Louisiana as the storm moves inland. “Life-threatening storm surge continues along much of the Louisiana coastline,” forecasters added.
(Read more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/08/27/hurricane-laura-updates-path-radar-news-after-landfall-louisiana-texas/3443274001/.)
Black man shot by police in Wisconsin paralyzed, ‘fighting for his life,’ family says
Stephen Maturen, Reuters, Aug 26, 2020
KENOSHA — The Black man shot in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was left paralyzed and “fighting for his life,” his family and lawyers said on Tuesday, as authorities in the lakefront town braced for a third night of civil unrest.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers declared a state of emergency, saying he would deploy additional National Guard troops in a bid to restore order in the town, while the mother of the man who was shot, Jacob Blake Jr, publicly appealed for calm.
Blake, 29, a father of six, was struck from behind at point-blank range in a hail of bullets fired on Sunday by police who were following him with guns drawn as he walked away from officers to his car and opened a door to the vehicle.
Three of his young sons inside the automobile – aged 3, 5 and 8 – witnessed their father being gunned down, according to civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents the Blake family.
A bystander captured the encounter in video footage that immediately went viral, unleashing outrage over the latest in a long series of instances in which police have been accused of using indiscriminate lethal force against African Americans.
Blake, who had been attempting to break up a quarrel between two women, was struck by four of seven gunshots fired at him, all by one officer, and there was “no indication he was armed,” Crump said in an ABC News interview on Tuesday.
The police have not explained why Blake was shot.
At a news conference later in the day, Blake’s parents expressed anguish over the shooting while decrying two nights of looting, vandalism and arson that overshadowed peaceful street protests.
‘MY SON MATTERS’
“They shot my son seven times. Seven times! Like he didn’t matter,” Jacob Blake Sr., his voice crumbling with emotion, told reporters. “My son matters. He’s a human being and he matters.”
Julia Jackson, Blake’s mother, said her son “has been fighting for his life,” but called for unity, saying she was praying for police officers. She also said she was disappointed by the damage to the city, a town of about 100,000 residents about 40 miles south of Milwaukee on Lake Michigan.
“It doesn’t reflect my son or my family,” she said. “If Jacob knew that was going on as far as that goes, the violence and the destruction, he would be very unpleased.”
Crump and another lawyer for the family, Patrick Salvi II, said bullets shattered some of Blake’s vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down — possibly permanently. He also suffered gunshot wounds to his stomach and gastrointestinal tract, requiring surgeons to remove most of his colon and small intestine, and sustained damage to his kidney, liver and one of his arms, they said.
“It’s going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr to ever walk again,” Crump said, adding that the family intended to bring a lawsuit “to hold wrongdoers accountable.”
He said Blake’s three sons would likely suffer “psychological problems for the rest of their lives.”
Video captured by a neighbor shows Blake walking toward the driver’s side door of his SUV, away from two officers who were pointing guns at his back. After he opens the door and leans into the car, seven shots ring out, with one of the officers tugging at his shirt.
The shooting is under investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which has not released any details. Kenosha police have referred all questions to the state investigators.
The shooting occurred three months after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racism.
Clyde McLemore, president of the Black Lives Matter chapter in nearby Lake County, Illinois, south of Kenosha, said demonstrators would be out again on Tuesday night, demanding that the officers involved in the shooting, who have been placed on administrative leave, be fired and prosecuted.
“We won’t stop protesting until we get that done,” he said. “I don’t condone burning of buildings or looting, but I understand it. Them places got insurance, they’ll be back up.”
Evers’ emergency declaration came as other officials called for a more forceful response to restore order.
Unrest flared again elsewhere on Monday night in the United States with overnight clashes reported in Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Madison, Wisconsin, and Minneapolis. In New York City, marchers swarmed the Brooklyn Bridge, social media video showed.
In Kenosha, protester Porche Bennett, 31, said fires had destroyed much of the Black business district and that those she saw igniting blazes were white. “It’s people from out of town doing this. We’ve been shopping there since we were kids, and they set it on fire,” Bennett said.
Governor calls for action after video captures Wisconsin police shooting Black man in the back several times
Man hospitalized Sunday evening after police shot him multiple times in the back as he got in car
Thomson Reuters, Aug 24, 2020
Police shot a Black man in the back multiple times in Kenosha, Wis., as his three sons watched on Sunday, his family’s lawyer said.
The shooting prompted a stark call for action from the state’s Democratic governor to recognize racism within the state and broadly around the country.
Jacob Blake, 29, was taken to a hospital in serious condition after the shooting late Sunday afternoon. Blake’s father told NBC News on Monday that his son was out of surgery and in stable condition.
News of the shooting sparked a night of unrest during which protesters hurled firebombs and bricks at law enforcement officers in Kenosha, leading Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to call in the National Guard on Monday.
A video circulating on social media showed Blake walking toward the driver’s side of a grey SUV followed by two officers with their guns drawn and pointed at his back. Seven gunshots can be heard as Blake, who appears to be unarmed, opens the car door. (The shortened version of the video above does not show the shots being fired.)
It was unknown whether the officers saw something inside the vehicle to justify deadly force. It was also not clear whether one or both officers fired their weapons.
Crowds gathered at the scene, set fires and threw bricks and Molotov cocktails at police, prompting authorities to impose a curfew. On Monday morning Kenosha County announced on Twitter that its courthouse and administration building would be closed due to damage from the night’s unrest.
Governor demands action
Evers issued comments just as protesters took to the streets in Kenosha and clashed with police, demanding action from elected officials in Wisconsin “who have failed to recognize the racism in our state and our country for far too long.”
“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,” Evers said.
Saying he stands with everyone who has demanded justice, equity and accountability for excessive use of force when engaged with Black people, the Democratic governor was met with condemnation from other, mainly Republican officials.
Pete Deates, president of the Kenosha police union, called Evers’s statement “wholly irresponsible.”
“As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident,” Deates said in a statement. “We ask that you withhold from passing judgment until all the facts are known and released.”
Evers called a special session of the Republican-controlled legislature starting Aug. 31 to pass a package of police reform bills he put forward in June, following the death of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis police. The bills would ban the use of chokeholds by Wisconsin police officers, as well as limit other uses of force.