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Wisconsin Senate calls special session about police reform in wake of Jacob Blake shooting

Blake was shot seven times in the back by a Kenosha police officer on Sunday.

A man walks by the Wisconsin state Capitol on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, in Madison, Wis. Police say a Minnesota man who broke into the Wisconsin Capitol through a fifth-floor window and was found unconscious on the dome’s roof has been charged with felony criminal damage. The criminal complaint filed against the Roseville, Minn., man described him as very drunk and ultimately apologetic. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)
The Wisconsin state Capitol
AP file

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Senate plans to meet in a special session Monday to discuss police reform in wake of Jacob Blake shooting.

Blake was shot seven times in the back Sunday, Aug. 23, by a Kenosha police officer. He’s hospitalized in Milwaukee and may be paralyzed from the waist down.

The shooting sparked demonstrations and sometimes violent protests in Kenosha, a city of about 100,000 people between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Amid the protests, two men were killed and a third was wounded in a shooting Tuesday night. A 17-year-old from Antioch, Illinois, was charged Thursday in connection with that shooting. Kyle Rittenhouse’s extradition hearing in Waukegan, Illinois, was delayed until Sept. 25 while the family hires a private attorney.

The Wisconsin Senate will meet Monday after Gov. Tony Evers called a special session, but the body will not be taking any action that day, according to Dan Romportl, spokesman for Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

Evers called the special session to consider nine bills he backs that make a number of changes to police practice, including banning chokeholds.

Kenosha police faced questions about their interactions with the gunman on Tuesday night. According to witness accounts and video footage, police apparently let the gunman walk past them and leave the scene with a rifle over his shoulder and his hands in the air, as members of the crowd yelled for him to be arrested because he had shot people.

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said the gunman likely slipped away because the scene was chaotic, with lots of radio traffic and people screaming, chanting and running — conditions he said can cause “tunnel vision” among law officers.

Video taken before the shooting shows police tossing bottled water from an armored vehicle and thanking civilians armed with long guns walking the streets. One of them appears to be Rittenhouse.

The state Department of Justice on Friday released new information about the Blake shooting, including the names of two other officers on the scene Sunday.

Authorities said the officers were responding to a call about a domestic dispute when they attempted to arrest Blake, though they didn’t explain why. In cellphone video posted on the internet, two officers can be seen following Blake with their guns drawn as he walks away from them. One then shoots him seven times in the back as he leans into his SUV, in which three of his children were seated.