Jacob Blake has been left paralysed from the waist down after being shot multiple times by Wisconsin police, his father has said.
The 29-year-old was airlifted to a Milwaukee hospital on Sunday, August 23, after officers in Kenosha County shot him several times in front of his children. The father-of-six was trying to help ‘de-escalate a domestic incident’ at the time.
While he underwent surgery, his father, also named Jacob Blake, says the victim has been left paralysed from the waist down after being shot eight times – an extra shot compared to previous reports. Doctors haven’t yet confirmed whether the injuries are permanent.
Blake’s father explained to the that he has ‘eight holes’ in his body following the incident. He said: ‘What justified all those shots? What justified doing that in front of my grandsons? What are we doing?’
His dad added: ‘I want to put my hand on my son’s cheek and kiss him on his forehead, and then I’ll be OK. I’ll kiss him with my mask. The first thing I want to do is touch my son.’
The footage, shared widely online by a number of high-profile celebrities such as LeBron James, shows Blake as he walks around his car. When he opens the door, an officer grabs his shirt and shoots him seven times while three of his children watch.
Pete Deates, head of Kenosha’s police union, urged that the video of the shooting ‘does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident’.
However, while conceding that the investigation is still ongoing, Governor Tony Evers said there’s been no information to suggest Blake had a knife or any weapon that would have provoked the officer’s response.
Blake’s father described the officers involved in the incident as ‘the flint as well as the gasoline’, igniting fresh outcry across Wisconsin and the world. Over the past two days, rampant protests have seen the state’s National Guard being deployed.
He added: ‘Those police officers that shot my son like a dog in the street are responsible for everything that has happened in the city of Kenosha. My son is not responsible for it. My son didn’t have a weapon. He didn’t have a gun.’
Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who represents the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and now Blake, said the officers’ ‘irresponsible, reckless and inhumane actions nearly cost the life of a man who was simply trying to do the right thing’.