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A Black man shot multiple times in the back over the weekend by police as he tried to enter his vehicle is paralyzed from the waist down, according to his family.
Blake's father, also named Jacob Blake, told the Chicago Sun-Times that his son is now paralyzed.
“What justified all those shots?” the elder Blake said. “What justified doing that in front of my grandsons? What are we doing?”
He said there’s now “eight holes” in his son’s body. One of the bullets that struck Blake severed his spinal cord, according to the family.
“I want to put my hand on my son’s cheek and kiss him on his forehead, and then I’ll be OK,” the father told the newspaper. “I’ll kiss him with my mask. The first thing I want to do is touch my son.”
It’s unknown if the paralysis will be permanent.
Blake said he plans to make the trip from Charlotte, North Carolina to visit his son in the hospital. He said his son grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The younger Blake moved to north Chicago in middle school. He was “happy little dude” in his childhood years, his father recalled.
“If you were in need of something and my son had it, he would not hesitate to give it to you,” his father added. “He’s a very giving individual.”
Blake’s grandfather, Jacob Blake Sr., was a well-known preacher, affordable housing activist, and Chicago civil right leader, the Associated Press reported.
Police were dispatched to the 2800 block of 40th Street in Kenosha shortly after 5 p.m. on Aug. 23 after reports of a domestic disturbance. Blake had been celebrating his son’s 8th birthday at the time law enforcement swarmed their front yard, the family said.
Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney representing Blake's family, said Blake was actually trying to defuse the altercation when police showed up.
"Blake was helping to deescalate a domestic incident when police drew their weapons and tasered him. As he was walking away to check on his children, police fired their weapons several times into his back at point blank range. Blake’s three sons were only a few feet away and witnessed police shoot their father," Crump, who also represents the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, said in a statement obtained by NBC News.
Cell phone video of the near-fatal encounter shows an officer shooting Blake in the back a number of times while he tried to enter a vehicle. Other footage of the shooting, which later circulated on social media, appeared to show officers struggling with Blake seconds before he was shot.
“They start to wrestle,” a witness, who saw the police shooting, told the Sun-Times. “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. ... (A police officer) tells him, ‘Get out of the car!’ and he starts shooting.”
Crump said Blake's children were within arm’s reach as police riddled him with bullets.
“You can only imagine the psychological problems these babies are going to have for the rest of their life,” Crump told Good Morning America Tuesday.
Crump said Blake’s children, aged 3, 5, and 8 are “absolutely devastated.” He described police as the “aggressors.”
“He was walking away,” Crump said. “He wasn’t posing a threat to them or anything like that. Yet again, we have police officers using excessive, unnecessary force in shooting an unarmed Black man in America.”
The civil rights attorney also denied there was any evidence that Blake was armed prior to the scuffle with police.
“We have no indication that he was armed,” Crump added.
Three officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, Kenosha Police Department announced on Monday. The officers, who haven’t been identified, “immediately” provided medical aid, the Wisconsin Department of Justice previously said.
Blake’s shooting has renewed a nationwide outcry against police brutality and racial injustice that began with the death of Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis in May. Protests flared up in Kenosha, as well as other areas in the state, and spread to other cities including Minneapolis and New York. In Kenosha, the National Guard was deployed after vehicles and businesses were torched and police fired rounds of tear gas at protesters. The city since declared a state of emergency and has imposed an 8 p.m. curfew.
Blake’s family has since called for calm.
“We will not excuse the actions of the Kenosha Police department, but his mother asks everyone to please remain peaceful,” Blake’s cousin posted on Twitter.
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