A black man shot brutally multiple times by police may be permanently paralysed, his family asserted on Tuesday, after protesters burnt down buildings and tore down street lamps in a second night of protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin over the incident. Jacob Blake was undergoing surgery in an attempt to repair nerve damage, his cousin said.
“He’s paralyzed from the waist down… He hasn’t woken up yet but they’re saying it’s a 50/50 chance he’ll walk away,” Herman Poster told the Daily Beast news site.
It happened to be the most recent and gruesome in a series of allegedly unfair police shootings and grave killings of African Americans that have ignited outrage in the United States.
Blake was shot on Sunday by a white policeman while getting into a car that held his three children after trying to break up a domestic dispute, according to civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Blake family.
Jacob Blake’s father, also named Jacob, told the Chicago Sun Times “What justified all those shots?… What justified doing that in front of my grandsons? What are we doing?” A video captured shows police shooting seven times at Blake, 29, at close range as he tried to enter the car.
Late on Monday police wearing military-type gear fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters who put up a citywide curfew to demonstrate over Blake’s shooting. The protesters, chanting “No justice, no peace” and “Say his name – Jacob Blake,” shot fireworks and hurled water bottles at the police.
Sherese Lott, 37, said she was present with her two daughters and a cousin to protest “because we want change”. She raised concerns about why the officers did not tackle or Taser him if they wanted to arrest Blake, and said police need to be held accountable.
“If I killed someone I’d be convicted and regarded as a murderer. I think it should be the same for the police.”
A couple, who only gave their names as Michelle and Kalvin, had brought their seven-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son with them.
“I want my kids to see how change happens and am here so nothing like this ever happens to them,” Michelle said.
The footage and the lack of immediate explanation brought back painful memories of the police killing of African American George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis, which led to protests spreading in the US and abroad.
As the two officers involved were placed on administrative leave, Wisconsin authorities launched a deeper investigation into the shooting.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called on Monday for a “full and transparent investigation”.
— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) August 21, 2020