Dad says Son Paralyzed by Police Shooting
Wisconsin case ignites new protests on racial injustice
8/25/2020, 10:44 a.m.
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — 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 in several cities. 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 traveling from North Carolina to be with his son, who is 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 family, said three of Blake’s sons — aged 3, 5 and 8 — were in the car at the time of the shooting.
The police officers were placed on administrative leave, which is standard practice in such cases. Authorities released no details about them and did not immediately respond to requests for their service records.
Since the shooting, anger has spilled into the streets of Kenosha and other cities, including Los Angeles, 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 defied an 8 p.m. curfew Monday night, massing in downtown Kenosha. Some set fire to buildings, cars and dumpsters, threw bottles and shot fireworks and then clashed with officers in riot gear, including 125 members of the Wisconsin National Guard, who deployed tear gas as they guarded the courthouse.
A city block was cordoned off Tuesday, so officials could survey damage. Several storefronts were badly damaged. Smoke filled the air and visibility was low as firefighters used water cannons on still smoldering buildings.
“Nobody deserves this,” said Pat Oertle, owner of Computer Adventure. Computers were stolen, and the store was “destroyed,” she said.
“This accomplishes nothing,” Oertle said. “This is not justice that they’re looking for.”
Earlier on Monday, when Kenosha Mayor John Antarmian moved a news conference from a park to inside the public safety building, a crowd rushed to the building and a door was snapped off its hinges before police in riot gear pepper-sprayed the crowd.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, both Republicans, called on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to do more to quell the unrest. Steil said he would request federal assistance if necessary.