The seven gun shots fired at a black man at close range by Wisconsin police pierced “the soul of our nation,” US presidential hopeful Joe Biden has said.
The victim, identified by the state governor as Jacob Blake, was flown by helicopter to hospital on Sunday evening after being shot repeatedly in the back in the city of Kenosha. He is in a serious condition.
Footage circulating on social media showed the incident with Mr Blake, who does not appear to be carrying a weapon, seen walking towards a car as two officers followed him with their guns drawn.
As Mr Blake opens the car door, one of the officers can be seen grabbing his vest and shooting him in the back.
Seven shots can be heard followed by the car’s horn continuously beeping.
Civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump, who represents George Floyd‘s family, said Mr Blake’s three sons were in the car when he was shot.
Police said they had been called to a domestic incident at 5.11pm but gave no further details as to what led to the shooting that followed.
Witnesses said Mr Blake was trying to break up a fight between two women when the officers arrived.
Presidential front-runner Mr Biden condemned the shooting of 29-year-old Mr Blake, calling for “an immediate, full and transparent investigation” and that the officers “must be held accountable.”
He said in a statement: “And this morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force.
“These shots pierce the soul of our nation.”
Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also tweeted: “I’m praying for Jacob Blake today. I’m standing with everyone who believes justice must be served in this horrific case and too many others like it. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter.”
The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, the Wisconsin Department of Justice said early on Monday.
:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
Wisconsin state governor Tony Evers wrote in a tweet: “We stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with black Wisconsinites.”
Wisconsin’s division of criminal investigation is looking into the shooting and said it will seek to “provide a report of the incident to the prosecutor within 30 days”.
A city-wide curfew was imposed until 7am on Monday after large protests marched down the streets throwing Molotov cocktails and bricks at police, with one officer reportedly injured by a brick.
A large rubbish truck parked on the road to prevent demonstrators marching towards the police station could be seen on fire before one of its tyres exploded, while people were seen kicking police cars and smashing their windows.
Kenosha’s protests are the latest in a series of ongoing demonstrations against police brutality and racism since 25 May when George Floyd died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.