Upset New Yorkers converged on Times Square on Monday to demand police accountability after officers shot a Black man in Wisconsin.
Protesters banged drums, called for justice and marched through nearby streets as they demanded answers in the shooting of Jacob Blake. The Kenosha Police Department said Sunday that a person was hospitalized in serious condition after the shooting as officers were responding to a “domestic incident." Blake, was shot, apparently in the back, as he leaned into his SUV while his children sat in the vehicle.
Blake's fiancée, Laquisha Booker, said police shot him repeatedly for no reason.
"It didn’t take all that," she said. "Disregard that my kids was in the car at all, and you knew they was in there because I kept screaming before ya’ll even made it to the other side of the driver’s side to get him in the car."
Demonstrators took to the streets across the country, including in New York where hundreds rallied at a large, multi-organizational gathering in Washington Square Park.
"To be honest with you, I'm sort of numb," Reverend Stephan Marshal, who works with the National Action Network, said.
Video of the shooting has been viewed millions of times. The footage raised several questions for retired NYPD Sgt. Manny Gomez.
"Why did he keep moving? Why did he go to his car? At the same time, I'm wondering, what was the police officer thinking? Did he think he saw a gun?" Gomez said.
At Monday's protests, Strategy for Black Lives Co-Founder Timothy Hunter said there was no excuse.
"Everybody that wants to say 'oh, Jacob Blake deserved to get shot because he want to his car, check 'em,'" he said. "No one deserves seven shots in their back in front of their kids. Nobody deserves that."
Blake's shooting happened just says before a planned national march on police brutality in Washington, D.C. The march was organized after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor; both died at the hands of police.
Reverend Marshall explained the mission of the march.
"To force the Congress and the Senate to pass the George Floyd police Accountability Act, which will will give a universal federal oversight on the behaviors of police departments in this country," Rev. Marshall said.
Tahtianna Fermin, a protester with Bridges for Life, said people at the rally were all on the same page.
"We’re all protesting for Black lives, for Black power, for equal rights, equality," Fermin said. "Everywhere you go, somebody is protesting. Everywhere you go, somebody got their fist up – and you’re still killing us. That man didn’t have to die in front of his kids.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misreported Blake's condition. It has since been corrected.