Why People are Refusing to Share the Kenosha Police Shooting Video

In the wake of the shooting of 29-year-old Black man Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, people are urging others not to share the video on social media.

The footage, which has already been widely viewed online and sparked protests and rioting in Kenosha, shows the moment Blake was shot at several times by police officers while he attempted to enter a vehicle.

Several people can be heard screaming in the footage after the officers fire at Blake. The 29-year-old is currently in Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee, in a serious condition.

Kenosha Police confirmed there was an officer-involved shooting on Sunday after officers were called to the 2800 block of 40th Street to reports of a domestic incident. It has been reported that Blake was attempting to break up a fight between two women prior to the shooting.

The incident is the latest in a long line of police shootings or brutality against Black people going viral, sparking protests and rioting as people vent their anger.

However, scores of people on social media are expressing their reluctance to share the footage online while urging others to do the same.

Actress and comedian Natasha Rothwell described the video as "traumatizing" for the Black community.

"Cops hunting black folk for sport isn't anything new. Being subjected to the footage and KNOWING there will be no consequences is next level torture," she tweeted. "The powerless is unbearable."

The post was in response to a tweet from writer and comedian Quinta Brunson, who wrote: "We do not need to share that video. The words should be enough."

Author Akilah Hughes added: "I'm not going to RT the video of that man being shot 7 times in the back by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin. But if you're a so-called 'Blue Life' you really can't defend this cowardly s**t.

"If you're clutching your pearls about calls to defund the police, it's because you still don't believe the police could shoot you and get paid to do so. You don't live in reality."

Similar arguments were made in the wake of the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd.

In a video which sparked worldwide outrage, officer Derek Chauvin could be seen with his knee on Floyd's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds while Floyd called out "I can't breathe."

While the clip led to the launching of a criminal investigation and sparked Black Lives Matter protests around the world, others also expressed their concern about it going viral.

Allissa V. Richardson, author of the book Bearing Witness While Black: African Americans, Smartphones and the New Protest, told ReCode that the public frequently consuming such images is "unhealthy" and "quite frankly, something that we don't do when white people die."

"These are the decisions we have to make if we talk about how we achieve racial justice," Richardson added. "This issue of humanization and allowing something to be sacred and private needs to be extended to black people and other victims of color. And so smartphone witnessing can function in a sinister fashion to take some of that dignity away if we're not careful."

In an article for the BBC World Service, journalist Sandrine Lungumbu described her reasons for not watching the footage of Floyd's final moments.

"I know there will be plenty of people telling me I should be glad the video went viral because it unveiled the truth—a deep social and systemic problem that has been ongoing for centuries in the US," Lungumbu wrote.

"But over the years I have found there is a fine line between exposing these horrific acts and safeguarding my mental health, especially when the story is so deeply rooted in my own experience.

"I think anyone watching these videos will find them distressing, but it resonates on a completely different level for a black person like me; these images can act as traumatic triggers."

jacob blake
A Caucasian protester holds up their sign during a protest at Trump Tower in the Manhattan Borough of New York on June 12, 2020. People are urging others not to share the video showing the shooting of Jacob Blake. Ira L. Black/Corbis/Getty
Why People are Refusing to Share the Kenosha Police Shooting Video | U.S.