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Jacob Blake may never walk again after being shot at least seven times by police in Kenosha, Wis., an attorney for Blake’s family said Tuesday.
The 29-year-old Black man was shot as he opened the door to his car on Sunday while his children were inside the vehicle.
“It is going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr. to ever walk again,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump told reporters. Blake is hospitalized in stable condition and appears to have lost the use of his legs, Crump said at a news conference in Kenosha where he was joined by Blake’s parents, siblings and the family’s other attorneys.
The shooting, which followed months of racial unrest over the killings of Black men and women in several cities, drew widespread condemnation and spawned violent protests in Kenosha. The violence prompted Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to declare a state of emergency on Tuesday and mobilize the National Guard.
In an emotional plea on Tuesday, Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, called for the “violence and destruction” to stop, saying it “doesn’t reflect my son or my family.”
But two days after the shooting, Blake’s family still doesn’t know why police shot Blake, Crump said. He said the department, which hasn’t commented publicly on the incident beyond a brief statement on Sunday, has not provided information to the family. Yahoo News reached out to the department multiple times for comment.
What little is known about the shooting comes from a video that captured the incident and the moments leading up to it. A clip posted to Twitter shows Blake walking to the driver’s side of a parked SUV with two officers following closely behind. One of the officers has a gun pointed at Blake’s back.
An officer appears to pull at Blake as he opens the door. Then one officer shoots Blake in the back, the video shows. The second officer appears to shoot too. Screams can be heard in the background.
The shooting occurred after police responded to a report of a domestic dispute sometime after 5 p.m., the department said Sunday. It’s unclear how or whether Blake was involved in the original incident.
While Blake lived, the shooting left him with serious injuries, attorneys said, detailing the extent of Blake’s wounds. The bullets severed his spinal cord and shattered some of his vertebrae, Crump said. Blake has holes in his stomach, according to Chicago attorney Patrick Salvi II, and had to have “nearly his entire colon and small intestines removed.”
“Jacob has a long road ahead of him,” Salvi said. “A lot of rehabilitation.”
Blake’s dad, Jacob Blake Sr., stammered as he recounted how many times his son was shot.
“They shot my son. Seven times,” he said. “Like he didn’t matter. But my son matters. He's a human being and he matters.”
At the news conference, an attendee could be heard asking about Blake’s criminal history. Wisconsin court records show he had a warrant out for charges of disorderly conduct, third-degree sexual assault and criminal trespass that were filed last month. Crump dismissed mention of the charges Tuesday as character assassination.
“It’s always after they try to assassinate us in person, they then try to assassinate our character. And the reality is [the police officers] knew nothing about Jacob before that moment that they made that decision.”
Blake’s family described him as a devoted father and loving brother and son.
Crump said the family is calling for the officers involved in the shooting to be fired. An investigation into the shooting is being led by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, state Attorney General Josh Kaul said Monday.
“The Wisconsin Department of Justice is vigorously and thoroughly investigating [Sunday’s] officer-involved shooting in Kenosha,” Kaul said in a statement. “As with all investigations we conduct, we will unwaveringly pursue justice in this case.”
Thumbnail credit: (Courtesy of Benjamin Crump)
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