Jacob Blake's dad says son left paralyzed by police shooting


Published by APNEWS.COM

Summary generated on August 25, 2020


    KENOSHA, Wis. - The father of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, says his son was left paralyzed from the waist down.

    Blake's father told the Chicago Sun-Times that he was told his son was shot eight times during the Sunday evening confrontation with police, which was captured on cellphone video and led to two nights of unrest in the city between Milwaukee and Chicago.

    The father, who is also named Jacob Blake and who was driving from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Kenosha to be with his son, told the newspaper that he learned Sunday night that officers had shot his son eight times and that he saw the now-viral video of it online a few minutes later that appears to show police shoot his son in the back.

    Anger over the shooting spilled into the streets of Kenosha for a second night Monday, with police again firing tear gas at hundreds of protesters who defied a curfew, threw bottles and shot fireworks at law enforcement guarding the courthouse.

    The southeastern Wisconsin city became the nation's latest flashpoint in a summer of racial unrest after cellphone footage of police shooting Blake as he leaned into his SUV - apparently while three of his children were sitting in the vehicle - circulated widely on social media.

    Police first fired tear gas Monday about 30 minutes after the 8 p.m. curfew took effect to disperse protesters who chanted, "No justice, no peace" as they confronted a line of officers who wore protective gear and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the courthouse entrance.

    Hundreds of people stuck around, screaming at police and lighting fires, including to a garbage truck near the courthouse.

    Police in the former auto manufacturing center of 100,000 people midway between Milwaukee and Chicago said they were responding to a call about a domestic dispute when they encountered Blake on Sunday.

    They did not say whether Blake was armed or why police opened fire, they released no details on the dispute, and they did not immediately disclose the race of the three officers at the scene.

    He said he didn't see a knife in Blake's hands.

    The governor said he had seen no information to suggest Blake had a knife or other weapon, but that the case is still being investigated by the state Justice Department.

    The officers were placed on administrative leave, which is standard practice in a shooting by police.

    "As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident," Pete Deates, president of the Kenosha police union, said in a statement.

    Kenosha police do not have body cameras but do have body microphones.

    In the footage, Blake walks from the sidewalk around the front of his SUV to his driver-side door as officers follow him with their guns pointed and shout at him.

    As Blake opens the door and leans into the SUV, an officer grabs his shirt from behind and opens fire while Blake has his back turned.

    Seven shots can be heard, though it isn't clear how many struck Blake or how many officers fired.

    A few moments later, Blake drove up in his SUV and told his son, who was standing nearby, to get in the vehicle, according to White.

    White said he left the window for a few minutes, and when he came back, saw three officers wrestling with Blake.

    One punched Blake in the ribs, and another used a stun gun on him, White said.

    He said Blake got free and started walking away as officers yelled about a knife.

    Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, representing Blake's family, said Blake was "Simply trying to do the right thing by intervening in a domestic incident."

    Blake's partner, Laquisha Booker, told NBC's Milwaukee affiliate, WTMJ-TV, that the couple's three children were in the back seat of the SUV when police shot him.

    Blake's father told the Sun-Times that his son also has three other kids.

    Blake's grandfather, Jacob Blake Sr., was a prominent minister and civil rights leader in the Chicago area who helped organize a march and spoke in support of a comprehensive housing law in Evanston, Illinois, days after the 1968 slaying of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.Rachel Noerdlinger, publicist for the National Action Network, told The Associated Press that the Rev. Al Sharpton spoke Monday to Blake's father, who called the civil rights leader for his support.

    Blake's father will speak at Sharpton's March on Washington commemoration on Friday, Noerdlinger said.

    Karissa Lewis, national field director of Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 150 Black-led organizations that make up the broader Black Lives Matter movement, said the shooting was yet another example of why activists have called for defunding police departments.

    "There's no amount of training or reform that can teach a police officer that it's wrong to shoot a Black man in the back seven times while his children watch," Lewis said in a statement first shared with the AP.Online court records indicate Kenosha County prosecutors charged Blake on July 6 with sexual assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse.

    The records contain no further details and do not list an attorney for Blake.

    Crump, who has also represented the Floyd and Taylor families, said Blake's family has asked that demonstrations in response to his shooting remain peaceful.