Father says Black Wisconsin man shot by police is paralyzed; protests break out

Police attempt to push back protesters outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, late Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. Protesters converged on the county courthouse during a second night of clashes after the police shooting of Jacob Blake a day earlier turned Kenosha into the nation’s latest flashpoint city in a summer of racial unrest. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Police attempt to push back protesters outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, late Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. Protesters converged on the county courthouse during a second night of clashes after the police shooting of Jacob Blake a day earlier turned Kenosha into the nation’s latest flashpoint city in a summer of racial unrest. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
An American flag falls from its pole as police attempt to secure the area after protesters set fire to the department of corrections building, late Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. Protests have erupted following the police shooting of Jacob Blake a day earlier. (AP Photo/David Goldman)An American flag falls from its pole as police attempt to secure the area after protesters set fire to the department of corrections building, late Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. Protests have erupted following the police shooting of Jacob Blake a day earlier. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Protesters set fire to an office late Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. Protesters converged on the county courthouse during a second night of clashes after the police shooting of Jacob Blake a day earlier turned Kenosha into the nation’s latest flashpoint city in a summer of racial unrest. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Protesters set fire to an office late Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. Protesters converged on the county courthouse during a second night of clashes after the police shooting of Jacob Blake a day earlier turned Kenosha into the nation’s latest flashpoint city in a summer of racial unrest. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A Black man shot multiple times, apparently in the back, by police in Wisconsin is paralyzed from the waist down and has “eight holes” in his body, the father of victim Jacob Blake said.

The shooting in broad daylight on Sunday by police in Kenosha, captured on cellphone video that quickly spread on social media, ignited new protests over racial injustice. It comes three months after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police set off demonstrations around the United States and touched off a wider reckoning on race.

Blake’s father, also named Jacob Blake, told the Chicago Sun-Times in a story published Tuesday that he didn’t know if his 29-year-old son’s paralysis would be permanent. The older man was travelling from North Carolina to be with his son who was being treated in a Milwaukee hospital.

“I want to put my hand on my son’s cheek and kiss him on his forehead, and then I’ll be OK,” the father told the newspaper. “I’ll kiss him with my mask. The first thing I want to do is touch my son.”

Blake’s father said that he learned Sunday night that officers had shot his son eight times and shortly thereafter he watched the video, which appears to show his son being shot in the back.

Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney representing the Blake family, said three of Blake’s sons — aged 3, 5 and 8 — were in the car at the time of the shooting. Crump scheduled a Tuesday afternoon news conference in Kenosha with Blake’s family members to address the shooting.

The father has not returned multiple messages left by The Associated Press.

He is slated to speak at a March on Washington commemoration on Friday organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton. His father and the victim’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.

The officers were placed on administrative leave, which is standard practice in such cases. Authorities released no details about the officers and did not immediately respond to requests for their service records.

Wisconsin is one of the most racially divided states in the country. While about 7% of the state’s population is Black, in Kenosha about 12% of residents are Black, based on 2019 Census data. Both the mayor and police chief are white.

Since the shooting, anger has spilled into the streets of Kenosha and other cities, including Wisconsin’s capital of Madison and in Minneapolis, the epicenter of the Black Lives Matter movement this summer following Floyd’s death.

Hundreds of protesters in Kenosha set fire to several buildings downtown on Monday night, including a furniture store and a community corrections building. They defied an 8 p.m. curfew and clashed with officers in riot gear, including 125 members of the Wisconsin National Guard, who deployed tear gas as they guarded the courthouse. Protesters set fire to cars and dumpsters, threw bottles and shot fireworks.

A city block was cordoned off Tuesday, so officials could survey damage. Several storefronts were badly damaged, including a computer store whose windows were broken. It appears merchandise was removed from its shelves. Smoke filled the air and visibility was low as firefighters used water cannons on the buildings.

“Nobody deserves this,” said Pat Oertle, owner of Computer Adventure, which was vandalized. “This accomplishes nothing. … This is not justice that they’re looking for. This is destroying things.”

Earlier on Monday, when Kenosha Mayor John Antarmian moved a news conference from a park to inside the public safety building, hundreds of protesters rushed to the building and a door was snapped off its hinges before police in riot gear pepper-sprayed the crowd.

In Madison, about 500 protesters marched to the state capitol on Monday night, breaking windows, stealing from stores and spraying graffiti along the way. Police used tear gas and pepper spray on the crowds and six people were arrested, according to Madison police.

In Minneapolis, 11 were arrested after breaking windows at the county jail on Monday night. One police officer suffered a broken hand in an altercation with demonstrators, the sheriff’s department said.

Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers was quick to condemn the shooting in Kenosha and on Monday called on the Republican-controlled Legislature to take up a package of police reform bills in a special session next week. But Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said instead he is creating a task force to study policing and racial injustice issues.

A Republican Wisconsin lawmaker said Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is Black, did not do enough to quell the violence.

“They did not call for peace. They did not encourage calm,” state Sen. Howard Marklein said. “They did encourage people to jump to conclusions and take negative action. The governor needs to accept responsibility for this.”

Evers’ spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, citing other recent shootings of Black people by police, said: “Those shots pierce the soul of our nation.”

Police in Kenosha, a city of about 100,000 in between Milwaukee and Chicago, said they were responding to a call about a domestic dispute when they encountered Blake on Sunday.

The man who said he made the cellphone video, 22-year-old Raysean White, said he saw Blake scuffling with three officers and heard them yell, “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” before the gunfire erupted. He said he didn’t see a knife in Blake’s hands.

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.

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

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is leading the investigation into the shooting, which is expected to take several weeks.

___

Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin. Associated Press reporters Todd Richmond in Madison, Wisconsin, Jeff Baenen in Minneapolis, Aaron Morrison in New York, and Tammy Webber in Fenton, Michigan, contributed.

Mike Householder And Scott Bauer, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

USA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Salmon Arm artist worked with talented local fabricators to create an enormous set of steel bighorn sheep horns to greet visitors to Radium Hot Springs. (Village of Radium Hot Springs image)
Salmon Arm locals’ skills bring steel sheep horn sculpture to Radium

Adam Meikle and Idea 64 Projects made the towering horns a reality

Salmon Arm Silverbacks defenceman Kieran Ruscheinski (right) sticks close to Vernon Vipers forward Logan Lorenz during Salmon Arm’s 2-1 overtime win in B.C. Hockey League pod play Saturday, April 10, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Mack attack paces Salmon Arm Silverbacks past Vernon

Sullivan Mack scores both goals, including beautiful OT winner, in Gorillas’ 2-1 BCHL pod play win over Snakes

Machinery could be seen working to clear land behind a pair of houses on Main Street for the future site of the Shuswap and Secwepmc Healing Centre, a medical facility on Friday, April 9. The Sicamous Fire Department has been using the buildings for training exercises ahead of their demolition. (Jim Elliot/Eagle Valley News)
Snapshot: Clearing space

Land is being cleared for a new medical centre on Sicamous’ Main Street.

Winter driving conditions returned to the Coquihalla Highway on April 10. (ICBC image)
Coquihalla motorists warned of fresh snow

Five to 10 cm of snow is expected today for the mountain highway.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Highway 97 being converted to four lanes in April 1990. This photo taken in Lake Country. (Greater Vernon Museum and Archives Photo #14025)
HISTORY: How the old Highway 97 in Lake Country got new name

Pelmewash Parkway recognizes the First Nations history in Lake Country

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Flight with COVID
Another Kelowna flight with COVID-19 exposure

Westjet flight on April 5 from Kelowna to Edmonton

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Most Read