The unarmed Black man shot multiple times in the back by a White Wisconsin police officer has been left paralyzed. Jacob Blake, 29, was flown to hospital in serious condition Sunday night after being shot at least seven times at close range. Although he is now said to be stable, his father, also named Jacob Blake, revealed that his son has sustained potentially lasting effects.
Speaking with the Chicago Sun-Times, Blake's father said that his son is now paralyzed from the waist down and has "eight holes" in his body. He said that doctors do not yet know if his son's paralysis is permanent. Currently in Charlotte, North Carolina, he said that he planned to drive to the hospital to be with his son Tuesday, stating that he wants "to put my hand on my son’s cheek and kiss him on his forehead, and then I'll be OK. I'll kiss him with my mask. The first thing I want to do is touch my son."
Blake sustained the injuries Sunday night in a police shooting that has sparked protests. Cellphone footage of the shooting showed an officer opening fire at close range as Blake attempted to enter an S.U.V. where his children, aged 3, 5, and 8, were located. According to a police department release, and as reported by Kenosha News, officers had been called to the scene for a domestic dispute. Blake had reportedly attempted to break up a verbal altercation between two women when the police arrived.
"They start to wrestle," one witness, who said he never saw a knife or other weapon, said of the incident. "The officer is punching on him. Two officers come to assist. They get him down on the curb behind his vehicle. Somehow he manages to get up. They said he has a knife. All of the officers pull out their guns... (One of the officers) tells him, 'Get out of the car!' and he starts shooting."
The shooting prompted protests in Kenosha. CNN affiliate WISN reported that protesters ignored an 8 p.m. curfew that had been put in place Monday night as they faced off with law enforcement outside the Kenosha County Courthouse. Water bottles were reportedly tossed and fireworks were set off. A number of vehicles were also burned, with officers responding to the unrest with flash bangs, tear gas and rubber bullets.
"Those police officers that shot my son like a dog in the street are responsible for everything that has happened in the city of Kenosha," Blake’s father said of the protests. "My son is not responsible for it. My son didn't have a weapon. He didn't have a gun.”
The case has since been turned over to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, for further investigation. They will investigate the officer involved in the shooting. At least two officers have since been placed on administrative leave.