Father of Black man shot by Kenosha police says son may be paralyzed, still in surgery

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Jacob Blake (Photo provided by NewsNation affiliate WGN)

KENOSHA, Wis. (NewsNation) — The father of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, says his son may be paralyzed.

Blake’s father, who’s also named Jacob Blake, said Tuesday that his son is undergoing surgery again after police shot him seven times in a confrontation captured on cellphone video. His father said they’re uncertain whether the paralysis Blake is experiencing is temporary or permanent, but bullets damaged his spine and shattered one of his ribs, puncturing a lung, damaging his stomach and liver.

“They shot my son seven times in his back while grabbing his shirt. We all saw what happened,” Blake Sr. said. “I want answers. I don’t want excuses.”

Police said at least one Kenosha officer shot the 29-year-old as he began to enter his SUV. A social media video recorded from across the street appears to show an officer shooting at close range.

Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney representing the family, said Blake was trying to de-escalate a domestic incident and that his three children – aged 3, 5 and 8 – were inside the car at the time of the shooting. Crump addressed the shooting with Blake’s family at a news conference in Kenosha Tuesday.

“It’s going to take a miracle for him to ever walk again,” said Crump at the press conference. Crump said Blake was still in surgery at the time of the press conference.

Kenosha police said they initially responded to the home after a caller reported some sort of domestic dispute.

Police did not say whether Blake was armed or why police opened fire. They released no details on the dispute, and they did not immediately disclose the race of the three officers at the scene.

Blake’s father, who is traveling from Charlotte, North Carolina, to see his son at the hospital, told WGN that he refuses to speak with police at this time. But he said he plans to demand answers on Saturday.

“Somebody’s going to answer some questions, exactly why they thought it was OK to treat my son like an animal and shoot him seven times in his back,” Blake Sr. said. “I want answers. I don’t want excuses. I need answers.”

A GoFundMe campaign to cover Blake’s medical bills, legal representation, therapy costs and family expenses has raised more than $1.2 million as of Tuesday at 5 p.m. EST. A GoFundMe spokesperson confirmed with NewsNation that the campaign was created by Blake’s family.

Protests over the shooting filled the streets of Kenosha for a second night Monday, after Gov. Tony Evers deployed 125 Wisconsin National Guard members in response to anticipated unrest.

WGN reporter Brónagh Tumulty reported that several people told her police had fired tear gas on demonstrators Monday night, after the countywide curfew went into effect. Protesters were seen throwing bottles and shooting fireworks at law enforcement guarding the courthouse.

Tensions flared earlier Monday after a news conference with Kenosha Mayor John Antarmian, originally to be held in a park, was moved inside the city’s public safety building. Hundreds of protesters rushed to the building and a door was snapped off its hinges before police in riot gear pepper-sprayed the crowd, which included a photographer from The Associated Press.

The man who said he made the cellphone video, 22-year-old Raysean White, said he saw Blake scuffling with three officers and heard them yell, “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” before the gunfire erupted. He said he didn’t see a knife in Blake’s hands.

The governor said he has seen no information to suggest Blake had a knife or other weapon, but that the case is still being investigated by the state Justice Department.

Evers declared a state of emergency following the protests across the state on Tuesday afternoon.

The officers were placed on administrative leave, which is standard practice in a shooting by police. Authorities released no details about the officers and did not immediately respond to requests for their service records.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WGN contributed to this report.

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