Attorneys for Blake’s family said he has been paralyzed by the shooting and has suffered other serious injuries, with his relatives on Tuesday issuing a call for peaceful protests as well as a denunciation of what happened.
“They shot my son seven times,” said Jacob Blake Sr., his father, at a news briefing on Tuesday afternoon, growing emotional as he spoke. “Seven times. Like he didn’t matter. But my son matters. He’s a human being, and he matters.”
Even as unrest in Kenosha prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency and the shooting was invoked by demonstrators — with protests arising across the country on Monday, some of them leading to property damage — scant details emerged about what happened.
Police have said that they were responding to a domestic incident. Neighbors said there was an altercation between two women and that Blake had been trying to break it up when officers arrived. Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the family, said in a statement that Blake was “simply trying to do the right thing by intervening in a domestic incident” and that police shot Blake in front of his three sons.
Attorneys for Blake’s family said that at least one bullet struck his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed, and that he also has holes in his stomach, was struck in his arm, and had much of his colon and small intestines removed.
Blake was undergoing another surgery Tuesday while his family and the attorneys spoke to reporters. More operations are likely in the future, they said.
“The medical diagnosis right now is that he is paralyzed, and because those bullets severed his spinal cord and shattered some of his vertebrae … it is going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr. to ever walk again,” Crump said at the news briefing Tuesday.
Crump linked the shooting to a slew of cases that have fueled outrage over police actions, including George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, but also stressed the impact this would have on the Blake family — pointing in particular to Blake’s three sons, including an 8-year-old who was celebrating his birthday on Sunday.
The shooting is being investigated by the state’s Department of Justice, which has declined to say how many officers are under investigation or whether Blake was armed. The eventual decision about whether any officers could face charges following that inquiry will rest with the local district attorney, who declined an interview request Tuesday.