After two nights of unrest and demonstrations across several U.S. cities, the family of Jacob Blake gave a sobering update on his condition while he is in recovery from sustaining several gunshot wounds at the hands of Kenosha, Wisconsin, police.
On Tuesday Jacob Blake’s father, also named Jacob, revealed that his son is paralyzed from the waist down, but is unsure if the paralysis would be permanent. He also revealed that the 29-year-old has eight holes in his body, contradicting earlier reports that he was shot 7 times.
“I want to put my hand on my son’s cheek and kiss him on his forehead, and then I’ll be OK,” he said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. “I’ll kiss him with my mask. The first thing I want to do is touch my son.”
It was a dark turn from what Blake thought his Sunday would be, when he set out to celebrate his son’s 8th birthday, Blake’s dad said. His three children witnessed the shooting and will have long-term trauma over what they were exposed to. According to Jacob’s father, he has six children between the ages of three and 13.
“What justified all those shots?” his father said. “What justified doing that in front of my grandsons? What are we doing?”
Blake’s shooting was spread across social media after it was shared on Sunday afternoon, re-traumatizing Black communities who are continuously subjected to violent imagery leading to ultimate death. In the video, Blake can be seen walking to his car to open the door after placing his three children into the car. Witnesses report that police were called to the scene due to a domestic disturbance between two women, where Blake reportedly attempted to break up the fight. As he opens the driver seat to get in the car he is shot several times in the back.
Two officers seen in the video have been placed on administrative leave.
A second video was released on Monday which showed Blake struggling with officers on the ground prior to him walking to the driver’s seat. Officers reportedly also used a taser on Blake before firing off their weapons.
On Sunday and Monday hundreds of Kenosha protesters took to the streets to demonstrate. In response, hundreds of Wisconsin National Guard troops were deployed to the area.
Demonstrations also took place in New York City, which culminated with a march in celebration of the late trans-activist Marsha P. Johnson’s 75th birthday.
In summary, the fatigue of continuous death and violence against Black communities along with the novel virus pandemic brings us to a tipping point, one which we may have never seen before.
“Those police officers that shot my son like a dog in the street are responsible for everything that has happened in the city of Kenosha,” Blake’s father continued. “My son is not responsible for it. My son didn’t have a weapon. He didn’t have a gun.”