Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Black man who was shot several times by police in Wisconsin, is now paralyzed, family attorney Benjamin Crump said Tuesday. Blake is currently undergoing surgery and is “struggling to sustain his life,” Crump added.
“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. “He is currently in surgery as we speak, still struggling to sustain his life and to hopefully become some resemblance of the man he once was.”
Attorney Patrick Salvi elaborated on Blake’s injuries, telling reporters that at least one bullet tore through his spinal cord. Salvi also said that the bullets left holes in Blake’s stomach, caused damage to his kidney and liver, and required that “nearly his entire colon and small intestine” be removed.
The shooting, which is under investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, occurred around 5 p.m. Sunday when officers responded to calls of a domestic incident. Video of the encounter showed Blake walking away from police, prompting one officer to grab his shirt as he attempted to open the driver’s side door of a parked SUV. The officer then shot Blake multiple times in the back.
The video quickly went viral on social media, sparking two nights of unrest in the city. Two officers involved in the arrest have been placed on administrative leave. The FBI is assisting the Wisconsin DOJ with the investigation.
Members of Blake’s family decried the shooting on Tuesday. “They shot my son seven times, seven times like he didn’t matter,” his father said at the press conference. “But my son matters. He’s a human being and he matters.”
“My son has been fighting for his life and we really just need prayers,” his mother said.
“So many people have reached out to me, telling me they’re sorry that this happened to my family,” one of his sisters said. “Well don’t be sorry, because this has been happening to my family for a long time — longer than I can account for. It happened to Emmett Till. Emmett Till is my family. Philando (Castille), Mike Brown, Sandra (Bland) — this has been happening to my family, and I’ve shed tears for every single one of these people that it’s happened to.”
“I’m angry and I’m tired. I haven’t cried one time,” she added. “I stopped crying years ago. I am numb. I have been watching police murder people that look like me for years.”
Governor Tony Evers on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in Wisconsin and authorized the presence of up to 250 members of the state’s National Guard. The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department instituted an 8 p.m. curfew for the third night in a row.