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US bishop calls for righteous anger at shooting of unarmed black man  

18 September 2020

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Family and supporters of Jacob Blake march during a rally for him near Martin Luther King Jr. Park on West Vliet Street in Milwaukee, last Saturday  

Family and supporters of Jacob Blake march during a rally for him near Martin Luther King Jr. Park on West Vliet Street in Milwaukee, last Satur...

THE Bishop of Milwaukee, in the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Rt Revd Steven Miller, has called for “righteous anger” in response to the shooting by police of Jacob Blake, an unarmed black man, last month.

On 23 August, Mr Blake was shot seven times in the back by officers in Kenosha as he entered a car in which his three children were seated. He survived, but has been left paralysed from the waist down.

The incident reignited protests against racism and police brutality which had swept the US after George Floyd died in police custody in May (News, 5 June). Three days after Mr Blake was shot, the protests turned violent, resulting in one death.

Bishop Miller said that he shared people’s “outrage”, and called for a “complete and impartial investigation of this travesty”.

“We pray that our righteous anger will strengthen our common effort to combat the unholy trinity of racism, poverty, and violence, and that the destruction of property in our communities will cease.”

Preaching during an online service shortly after the events, the Very Revd Matthew Buterbaugh, the Rector of St Matthew’s Episcopal Church — which is close to the centre of the protests — expressed fear that “we will assume things will calm down and go back to normal, and none of the systematic problems that caused all of this will be fixed.”

Police tried to arrest Mr Blake after being called to the area. He later said that he had had a knife on the dashboard, though he did not pick it up. He has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges before the shooting.

The officers involved are on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation. Neither has been charged.

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