Jacob Blake, a man shot multiple times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has been paralyzed and his family is hoping for “a miracle,” their attorneys said.
“It’s going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr. to ever walk again,” Benjamin Crump told reporters.
The 29-year-old Black man was undergoing surgery Tuesday afternoon, two days after police shot him at close range as he tried to enter an SUV. In the vehicle were his 3-, 5- and 8-year-old sons, Crump had said.
Blake’s father described the shooting as a “senseless attempted murder.”
“They shot my son seven times … seven times like he didn’t matter, but my son matters,” Jacob Blake Sr. said. “He’s a human being and he matters.”
Blake suffered multiple injuries, including a gunshot wound to one arm, damage to his kidney, liver and spinal cord, said Patrick Salvi Jr., another family attorney.
“He had a bullet go through some or all of his spinal cord, at least one bullet. He has holes in his stomach. He had to have nearly his entire colon and small intestines removed,” Salvi added, saying the family will file a civil lawsuit against the police department over the shooting.
A new 24-second video obtained by CNN shows Blake struggling with police officers near the back of his SUV as a group of individuals surrounds them. Blake then walks around the front of the vehicle followed by two officers and approaches the driver’s door moments before the shooting, according to the video.
It’s unclear what prompted the interaction but the video shows a new vantage point of the moments before the shooting.
“All my grandson asks repeatedly is ‘Why did police shoot my daddy in the back?’” Jacob Blake Sr. told reporters.
The shooting has spurred protests and unrest in the state, prompting Gov. Tony Evers to declare a state of emergency on Tuesday and the deployment of an additional 125 Wisconsin National Guard troops to Kenosha.
Ahead of an expected new round of protests, Kenosha County declared another state of emergency curfew from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday. Sheriff David Beth asked “the public to stay off the streets for their safety.”
‘No one is superior to the other,’ Blake’s mom says
After demonstrators torched cars and set buildings ablaze on Monday night, Blake’s mother called for peaceful protests and said her son would not be pleased with “the violence and the destruction.”
Julia Jackson said the damage in the city from the unrest “doesn’t reflect my son or my family.”
She asked for prayers not only for her son but for healing across the country.
“Clearly you can see right now that I have beautiful brown skin but take a look at your hand and whatever shade it is, it is beautiful as well,” Jackson said. “How dare we hate what we are. We are humans.”
“No one is superior to the other. The only supreme being is God himself. Please let’s begin to pray for healing for our nation. We are the United States, have we been united?,” she added.
Only police reform will stop protests, Crump says
Enraged protesters poured onto the streets Sunday evening after video of the shooting circulated on social media.
In it, two officers trail a step or two behind Jacob Blake as he walks around a gray SUV. As he reaches the driver door and opens it, the nearest officer grabs the tail of Blake’s tank top, and seven shots are heard, followed by a sustained sound of a car horn as Blake collapses into the car.
Two Kenosha officers are on administrative leave. The local police union has urged the public to withhold judgment until a state investigation is complete.
The shooting came as demonstrators continue to decry police violence in American cities, including the encounters that killed George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The night before Blake’s shooting, protests erupted in Lafayette, Louisiana, after police killed a Black man – Trayford Pellerin, 31 – outside a convenience store.
“If we don’t have the systematic reform that this moment in America is crying out for, then we are going to continue to see hashtag after hashtag, protest after protest, and cities burning all across America,” Crump said.
Several businesses were burning late Monday in Kenosha, and Gov. Evers called in the National Guard to help “protect critical infrastructure.”
On Tuesday, the governor said in a statement that protests were a critical part of democracy but “there remains a line between peaceful assembly and what we saw last night that put individuals, families, and businesses in danger.”
In the Wisconsin capital, about a two-hour drive from Kenosha, police arrested six people, including one armed with a handgun, after some marchers began breaking windows, setting fires, looting and throwing rocks and bottles at officers, Madison police said.
Protesters also marched in New York City, Washington, DC and Minneapolis, where at least five people were arrested.
“We will continue showing up until they’re tired of killing us,” a Manhattan protester told CNN affiliate WLNY.
Federal investigators reviewing shooting
While the shooting is being investigated by state and local officials, federal investigators are reviewing the circumstances surrounding the police shooting, a federal law enforcement source told CNN on Tuesday.
The US Justice Department and FBI agents in Wisconsin are gathering information in order to determine whether a federal civil rights investigation will be launched, the source said.
The shooting is being investigated by the Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley’s office and the Wisconsin Justice Department’s division of criminal investigation, which plans to present a report to Graveley’s office within 30 days, it said.
“We’re asked to make two determinations,” Graveley said. “One, did any office in this case commit any crimes, and two, are there any crimes that we believe were committed that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt?”
If the answer is yes to both questions, Graveley will file charges, he said.
Attorney: Blake was breaking up fight
Just after 5 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to a domestic disturbance call in the city of 100,000 located on the Lake Michigan shoreline between Chicago and Milwaukee,
It’s unclear who called 911 or what happened before the video of the shooting begins. In a police call, a dispatcher says Blake “isn’t supposed to be there,” and that he took a complainant’s keys and refused to leave. The dispatcher later explains she doesn’t have more details because the caller was “uncooperative.”
Crump, who represents many families whose loved ones were shot by police, including Floyd’s, said Blake was leaving the scene after “breaking up a fight between two women.”
Raysean White, who filmed the video that’s been viewed millions of times, said two women were arguing when Blake arrived and ordered one of his sons into a vehicle. Blake then walked into a home behind a woman, White said.
White, who was across the street, stepped away and when he returned saw police wrestling with Blake before one of the officers deployed his Taser on Blake, he said. He doesn’t know what started the argument and began filming what he called the middle and end of the altercation.
“Jacob kind of leaned on the car and they proceeded to wrestle him toward the back of the car, and he went to the other side of the car,” White told CNN. “When they were on the other side of the car on the ground, I had to pick up my camera and start recording.”
The dispatcher’s report of shots fired came about five minutes after the initial report. According to Crump, police had already used a Taser on Blake before the shooting. It’s unclear from the video if both officers opened fire. The second officer has his gun out as the shots are heard, the video clip shows.
“As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident. We ask that you withhold from passing judgment until all the facts are known and released,” said Pete Deates, president of the Kenosha Professional Police Association.
CNN’s Nicole Chavez, Eliott C. McLaughlin, Christina Maxouris wrote and reported from Atlanta, and Sara Sidner and Omar Jimenez reported from Kenosha. Hira Humayun and Raja Razek contributed to this report.