Jacob Blake's uncle, Justin Blake, is speaking out after the 29-year-old was shot seven times by a Kenosha, Wisconsin police officer Sunday. Appearing on Good Morning America Wednesday, Justin told host T.J. Holmes that his nephew is beginning the long road to recovery, one that will be filled with numerous challenges.
Justin revealed that his nephew is "in a lot of pain" following the shooting, which saw at least one bullet tear through his spinal cords and other shots damaging his kidney, liver, and arm, according to Tuesday remarks from the family's attorneys, Patrick Salvi Jr. Blake is now in the intensive care unit of an area hospital and underwent surgery, with Justin revealing that the 29-year-old is not "out of the woods" just yet, but is "doing better."
On Tuesday, Blake's family revealed that the shooting had left him paralyzed from the waist down. At this time, doctors are unsure if the 29-year-old will regain the usage of his legs. Justin said that "the inflammation was" posing a challenge to his nephew's "mobilization." He explained that doctors and family are "hoping that when the pressure reduces things go back to normal within his body, that he will be able to move again with his lower limbs."
Justin added that Blake's sons, who witnessed the shooting, have not yet visited their father. So far, only Blake's mother and father have been able to see him. He also said that the cellphone footage of the shooting, which has drawn national outrage, is "disheartening, discouraging." He said that there was "definitely a racial issue involved" in the shooting and asked why this same thing continues to happen in the year 2020.
The shooting has prompted continuous nights of protests in Kenosha, some of those protests turning violent, with two people being fatally shot Tuesday night. According to Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth, the majority of protesters are peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights. However, people from "outside" the community are coming in looking to loot and cause destruction.
"If you want to protest peacefully, by all means, go out and do it. It's your right. But don't be a part of this destructive force that's burning our community. That's not a productive path to justice," Beth said in a statement Tuesday, according to GMA. "We are not sitting idly, watching the destruction of our community. We're making every effort to make it stop, and I hope you will too."
A state of emergency has since been declared, with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers increasing the number of Wisconsin National Guard members activated to help local authorities. The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave. The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation is leading the probe into the incident.