Jacob Blake was left with serious injuries after being shot seven times by the police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday.
The 29-year-old spine's was severed and his vertebrae were shattered by the bullets, the family's lawyer Ben Crump said on Tuesday. Crump said Blake was unlikely to walk again.
Another attorney said that Blake had extensive injuries to his internal organs and that surgeons had to remove almost his entire colon and small intestine.
Despite this, Zietha Blake, one of Blake's sisters, said Blake was more worried about his family than himself, according to CNN.
Justin Blake, Blake's uncle, told the Chicago Tribune that his nephew moved to Kenosha a few years ago because "it was safer." More details are emerging about his background as the shooting has sparked protests in Kenosha and other cities.
Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Black man who was shot repeatedly by the police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is alive but suffering from grievous injuries, his family and attorneys said Tuesday.
Despite this, his sister said Blake was most concerned about the trauma experienced by his relatives.
A bystander recorded footage of the shooting on Sunday, in which multiple police officers could be seen aiming guns at Blake, whose back was turned. Seven shots could be heard in the video as Blake climbed into a car.
The full circumstances of the encounter — which has renewed outrage in Kenosha and other cities at police violence against Black Americans — remained unclear Wednesday, though a second video and witness accounts suggest there was a longer struggle before the shooting.
At a press conference Tuesday, several family members were joined by a legal team headed up by the civil-rights lawyer Ben Crump, who is representing the family.
They gave an update on the extensive injuries Blake had received and said he might never walk again.
One of his sisters, Zietha Blake, said that nonetheless he was still more worried about his family, according to CNN.
"His kids are his world. But not only that, his family is his world," she said, adding: "He's upset because we're hurt, we're upset. He doesn't even care about himself. He's more so worried about us."
—Sarah Thamer (@SarahThamerWISN) August 24, 2020
Crump told the press conference that bullets had cut Blake's spinal cord and shattered his vertebrae. "It is going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr. to ever walk again," he said.
Another attorney representing the family, Patrick Salvi Jr., said the bullets also hit Blake in an arm and several internal organs, including his kidneys, liver, and stomach.
"He has holes in his stomach," Salvi said. "He had to have nearly his entire colon and small intestines removed."
Blake's father, also named Jacob, told the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday that his son had "eight holes" in his body.
Blake's father had earlier said he was planning to drive up to Milwaukee from Charlotte, North Carolina, to see his son in the hospital.
"I want to put my hand on my son's cheek and kiss him on his forehead, and then I'll be OK," his father told the Sun-Times. "I'll kiss him with my mask. The first thing I want to do is touch my son."
'A lively young man'
On Monday, Blake's uncle spoke with the Chicago Tribune, describing him as a family man who volunteered at a local recycling project.
Justin Blake said his nephew moved to the Kenosha area of Wisconsin a few years ago because "it was a safer location" and he "could work and try to save and build a better life."
Various news outlets have reported that Blake has six children.
Blake's uncle told the Tribune that Blake still kept links with his former home in Evanston, a Chicago suburb 65 miles south of Kenosha where his extended family members live.
He said Blake often volunteered at Black Urban Recycling in Chicago, an organization that recycles tin to make money for local veterans. Justin Blake founded the organization.
"The veterans love when he comes around because he's always polite and perky," his uncle told the newspaper. "He's a lively young man. He's like his father, my brother.
"He's got a hell of a personality and he loves people."
While at Evanston Township High School, Blake played football and basketball, his uncle said, adding that he loved music and architecture.
In 2015, Blake worked with his uncle on an outreach program for Black men in Chicago after a string of killings, Kevin Brown, an anti-violence activist in Evanston, told the Sun-Times.
"Even though [he] no longer lived in our community, he cared enough about it that he would come back and try to make a difference," Brown said.
"When you see a young person who has that kind of wherewithal and commitment to justice and peace, that's the thing that strikes you, that gives you hope."
In the widely shared video of the shooting, multiple officers could be seen following Blake from the passenger side of a car toward the driver's door, which Blake started to enter.
An officer who was closely trailing Blake grabbed and pulled Blake's T-shirt from behind with one hand while holding a gun in the other. After that, seven shots could be heard.
The lead-up to the shooting
It is unclear what prompted Sunday's encounter with the police. The police have said only that they were initially called to a "domestic incident." They have released little other information after the Wisconsin Department of Justice began an investigation.
There was an active arrest warrant in Blake's name at the time of the shooting, the Tribune reported, though there is no suggestion that the police were called because of that.
Court records indicate Blake had been charged with third-degree sexual assault, trespassing, and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse on July 6.
Crump said three of Blake's sons were in the car when the shots were fired. "They saw a cop shoot their father. They will be traumatized forever," he said on Twitter. "We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us. Our kids deserve better!!"
—Stephanie Haines (@TMJ4Stephanie) August 24, 2020
A man who said he was Blake's friend told a local news reporter, Chernéy Amhara, that one of the kids was celebrating a birthday.
Protesters and family members demand justice for Blake
At the family's press conference on Tuesday, Blake's mother, Julia Jackson, gave a powerful speech calling for law-enforcement officials and politicians to "examine your hearts" and offer prayer and justice to her son.
Daniel Poneman, a childhood friend of Blake, confirmed to Insider that a GoFundMe fundraiser established to help Blake's family and cover any legal costs was the official one for his family.
The fundraiser had raised more than $1.3 million of a $2 million target as of early Wednesday, from more than 48,000 donors.
The fundraiser organizer, listed as Julia Jackson, did not respond to a request for comment through the GoFundMe page.
Family calls for peaceful protest
Protests began the same day as the shooting, with about 60 people gathering initially near Blake's home.
Blake's family has called for protests to remain peaceful, with Jackson saying Blake would be "unpleased" to know that demonstrations had been marked by violence.
On Monday, Gov. Tony Evers called the National Guard to assist Wisconsin law enforcement in responding to demonstrations that had escalated and at times turned destructive. Police officers in riot gear have responded in some cases with tear gas.
Several cars and a city truck were set on fire, and the windows to the courthouse were smashed Monday. A citywide curfew, put in place Sunday, was extended to the early hours of Tuesday in response.
In the aftermath of the first night of protests, locals gathered to voluntarily clear up the damage.
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