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Jacob Blake: Wisconsin black man 'will need miracle' to walk again

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image copyrightBenCrump.com
image captionJacob Blake (left) was shot several times in the back by police

The lawyers for the family of a black man shot in the back by police in the US state of Wisconsin say he will need a "miracle" to walk again.

Jacob Blake, 29, was shot several times opening the door of his car in Kenosha. At least one of the bullets went through his spinal cord, lawyers said.

Several people were reportedly shot on Tuesday night amid continuing unrest following the police shooting.

The governor of Wisconsin is sending more National Guard troops to Kenosha.

As a result of the partial or complete severing of his spinal cord, Mr Blake is paralysed, with doctors unsure if he will recover the use of his legs.

  • What we know about Jacob Blake's shooting

"His family believe in miracles, but the medical diagnosis right now is that he is paralysed 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," lawyer Ben Crump told a press conference on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old, shot as his young sons sat in the car, was also left with holes in his stomach, an arm injury and damage to his kidney and liver. Most of his colon and small intestine had to be removed, his lawyers told reporters.

His mother Julia Jackson told the press conference her son had been "fighting for his life", but said if he "knew what was going on as far as that goes, the violence and the destruction, he would be very unpleased".

media captionJacob Blake's mother: "Let’s use our hearts, love and intelligence to work together"

Buildings and cars have been left damaged following protests over the shooting in the city of about 100,000 on the south-western shore of Lake Michigan.

On Tuesday, Governor Tony Evers said he would send more National Guard troops to Kenosha to protect state buildings and support first responders and firefighters. A state of emergency has also been declared in Wisconsin, as protesters clashed with police for a third night.

Mr Blake's shooting comes as the US grapples with the treatment of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement, as well as wider questions about racism in society, since the death in police custody in Minneapolis of another black man, George Floyd, in May.

In her speech, Ms Jackson addressed racism directly and called for "healing".

"Do you understand what is going to happen when we fall - because a house that is against each other cannot stand."

What do we know about the shooting?

Police say they were responding to a domestic incident when they went to the site of Sunday's shooting but have given few other details. So far it is unclear who called the police, how many officers were involved, and what happened before the shooting.

Footage of the incident show Mr Blake opening the door and leaning into the car, at which point one officer grabs his shirt and opens fire. Seven shots can be heard in the video, as witnesses shout and scream.

image copyrightReuters
image captionBuildings have been burnt down during protests in Kenosha

Mr Blake's fiancée Laquisha Booker, said the children - who witnessed everything as they sat in the back of the car - were screaming as their father was shot.

Lawyers for Mr Blake said he had been trying to "de-escalate a domestic incident". Witnesses said the same to local media.

Court records show there was an open arrest warrant against Mr Blake on sexual assault and domestic abuse charges but police have not said if officers were aware of this when they responded to the call on Sunday.

Wisconsin's Department of Justice is investigating the incident in Kenosha, while the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave. A petition calling for them to be charged has garnered tens of thousands of signatures.

Mr Blake's father has said he does not have confidence in the investigation.

"Anybody that is white, that is doing an investigation about a black young man that was shot seven times in his back, and haven't come up with an answer or a comment at this point, is not welcome," he told reporters.

media captionUS police shooting of Jacob Blake sparks protests in Wisconsin

What is the latest with the protests?

Within hours of Mr Blake's shooting, hundreds of people had marched on Kenosha's police headquarters. Cars were later set alight, and police urged 24-hour businesses to consider closing because of "numerous" calls about armed robberies and shots being fired.

On Monday, Governor Evers called up the National Guard to aid local police and imposed a night-time curfew on Kenosha.

But some ignored the curfew, and police used tear gas to try to force protesters - some of whom were throwing water bottles - to disperse. Police, backed up by the National Guard, also used rubber bullets and smoke bombs, protesters said.

Some demonstrators were seen attacking cars and property with baseball bats, news agency Reuters reported, while others set cars alight.

Hundreds of protesters also marched through the city on Tuesday. A small group of demonstrators threw fireworks and water bottles at police, who responded with rubber bullets and tear gas.

There are also reports of armed men on the streets vowing to defend private property amid the unrest.

Protests have also spread to a number of other cities, including Portland, Oregon and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Related Topics

  • United States
  • Wisconsin

More on this story

  • Jacob Blake: What we know about Wisconsin police shooting