In a devastating incident that unfolded in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a Black man named Jacob Blake was shot multiple times in the back by police officers. The tragic incident, which occurred on Sunday, has left Blake paralyzed from the waist down, as confirmed by his father in an interview with The Chicago Sun-Times.
The shooting was captured on a now-viral video captured by a bystander. The shocking footage has sparked nationwide protests, reminiscent of the outrage following George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis back in May.
The video shows two police officers aiming their guns at the 29-year-old Blake as he walks away from them towards a parked SUV on the driver’s side. Blake proceeds to open the vehicle door and leans inside, at which point one of the officers grabs the back of his shirt. Suddenly, seven or more gunshots ring out. It remains unclear whether both officers fired their weapons.
On the video, witnesses can be heard screaming and yelling as the shooting occurs, clearly disturbed by the violent scene unfolding before their eyes.
According to the police, officers at the scene provided medical assistance to Blake before he was transported to the hospital. The involved officers have been placed on administrative leave, a standard procedure in police shootings, while the Wisconsin Department of Justice conducts its investigation. It is worth noting that administrative leave, in essence, grants police officers a paid vacation during the investigation period.
Reports indicate that police had initially responded to a dispatch call regarding a “domestic incident.” Witnesses claim that just moments before the shooting, Blake was trying to intervene in a fight between two women, prompting the police to approach him.
On the day of the shooting, Blake had spoken to his father, who had planned to celebrate his grandson’s eighth birthday. The heartbroken father questions the justification for the excessive use of force and expresses his disbelief at the sight of such violence occurring in front of his grandsons.
As of now, doctors are unsure whether Jacob Blake will suffer permanent paralysis, his father revealed to the Sun-Times. The uncertainty regarding his health adds to the distress felt by the family, as they grapple with the shocking news of their loved one’s shooting.
“This is like all the Black parents talk about; it’s that phone call you don’t want to get, and we got it,” says Justin Blake after his nephew Jacob Blake was shot and critically injured by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The family urged people to “protest nonviolently” pic.twitter.com/ITpnrBdBaq
— CNN This Morning (@CNNThisMorning) August 25, 2020
Jacob’s uncle, Justin Blake, also shared his anguish upon learning of his nephew’s ordeal. He emphasized how this tragic incident resonates with conversations within the Black community, as parents dread receiving that dreaded phone call. Nevertheless, the family remains strong, relying on their faith to guide them through this difficult time.
Justin Blake describes Jacob as an exceptional young man and hopes for his nephew’s complete recovery and a fulfilling life moving forward. In light of the shooting, the family urges people across the country to peacefully protest and seek justice while protecting their own communities from destruction.
The shooting in Kenosha sparked immediate protests in the city, with demonstrators taking to the streets on Sunday evening and Monday night. As the night wore on, police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd, enforcing an 8 p.m. curfew issued by the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Associated Press. Some protesters reportedly responded by lighting fireworks and throwing bottles at the police, while others set a garbage truck ablaze.
Solidarity protests were also held in Minnesota, where around 100 demonstrators gathered outside the Adult Detention Center in Hennepin County. The jail housed protesters who had been earlier arrested that night, according to reports from WCCO-TV.
The incident in Kenosha and the subsequent protests highlight the growing frustration and outcry over police violence against the Black community. As the nation grapples with this latest episode of tragedy and unrest, the call for justice resonates louder than ever.