Jacob Blake, a Black man shot in the back by police in Wisconsin, is paralyzed from the waist down, and doctors don't know if the condition is permanent, his father and family's lawyers said Tuesday.
Blake suffered serious damage to his colon, small intestine, kidney, liver and stomach, stemming from Sunday night's shooting in Kenosha, according to family attorney Patrick Salvi.
"Severe and likely permanent injury," Salvi said of the wounds his client suffered. "Miraculously, because I imagine you've all seen the video, Jacob is alive."
Earlier on Tuesday, the man's father — also named Jacob Blake — told the Chicago Sun-Times that his son can't move the lower half of his body. The father later confirmed the assessment of his son's condition to NBC News.
"They shot my son seven times, seven times, like he didn't matter," the emotional father told reporters late Tuesday afternoon. "But my son matters, he's a human being and he matters."
While doctors don't know if the paralysis will be permanent, the family has been told that prospects are not encouraging, according to another family attorney, Benjamin Crump.
"Because those bullets severed his spinal cord and shattered some of his vertebrae," Crump said. "It is going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr. to ever walk again."
Confirmed: Jacob Blake currently paralyzed from the waist down. Praying it's not permanent. #JusticeForJacobBlake
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) August 25, 2020
The shooting has sparked protests in Kenosha and other cities. Police in riot gear deployed tear gas against demonstrators in Kenosha late Monday as several buildings and cars were burning.
Blake's mother, Julia Jackson, and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers both appealed to protesters on Tuesday, asking them to keep the peace even as they call for justice.
"If Jacob knew what was going on as far as that goes, the violence and the destruction, he would be very unpleased," Jackson said.
"So I'm really asking and encouraging everyone in Wisconsin and abroad to take a take a moment and examine your hearts."
Evers echoed Jackson and asked for protesters to keep focus.
“The ability to exercise First Amendment rights is a critically important part of our democracy and the pursuit of justice," Evers said in a statement.
"But there remains a line between peaceful assembly and what we saw last night that put individuals, families, and businesses in danger."
Kenosha police have released few details beyond saying that officers were responding to a domestic incident at 5:11 p.m. on Sunday that resulted in a shooting.
The confrontation was videotaped by a bystander and posted on social media.
Blake appeared to be walking away from officers and had opened the front driver's side door when he was shot from behind.
The ability to exercise First Amendment rights is a critically important part of our democracy and the pursuit of justice. But there remains a line between peaceful assembly and what we saw last night that put individuals, families, and businesses in danger.
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) August 25, 2020
The Detroit Lions called off their practice on Tuesday in the wake of the Blake's shooting.
After a team meeting, Lions coach Matt Patricia and players pushed a dry-erase board on wheels outside, with “The world can't go on” and “We won't be silent!! One pride" written on it.
“We’re dealing with times right now, where something is shaking in the world,” Lions defensive end Trey Flowers said.
“It’s definitely an unprecedented time with the pandemic and something that has been going on for quite some time with the social injustice.”
The police shooting of Blake occurred three months after George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody, which sparked protests around the country and across the world.
The elder Blake said he wasn't confident in the ongoing probe.
“I don’t have the confidence in anybody that is white that is doing an investigation about a Black young man that was shot seven times in his back," he said.