Updated: August 27, 2020 10:18:06 pm
Three months after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, another black man — 29-year-old Jacob Blake — was shot multiple times in the back by the Kenosha police in Wisconsin on Sunday. The shooting in broad daylight captured on cellphone video quickly went viral on social media, triggering nights of civil unrest over racial injustice in several cities of the US that included a wave of arson, widespread vandalism and a separate shooting that claimed two lives in Kenosha. A 17-year-old has been arrested in connection to the separate shooting
Who is Jacob Blake?
Jacob Blake is partially paralysed from a bullet that severed his spinal cord and it would “take a miracle” for him to walk again. Blake, who was attempting to break up a fight between two women, was shot in the back seven times on Sunday as he leaned into his SUV, three of his sons, aged between three and eight, seated inside. The lawyer for Blake’s family, civil rights attorney Ben Crump said he also suffered wounds to his stomach, intestines, kidney and liver and will require multiple operations to recover.
“His family believe in miracles, but the medical diagnosis right now is that he is paralysed 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,” lawyer Ben Crump told a press conference on Tuesday.
His mother Julia Jackson, at press conference as quoted by BBC, said her son had been “fighting for his life”, but said if he “knew what was going on as far as that goes, the violence and the destruction, he would be very unpleased”.
According to a report in the Chicago Tribune newspaper, Blake was raised in Evanston, a town outside the city of Chicago. He, later moved to to Kenosha several years ago for a job and for his family. His family have a long history of community activism. The victim’s grandfather, Jacob Blake Sr., was a prominent minister and civil rights leader in the Chicago area who helped organise a march in support of a comprehensive housing law in Evanston, Illinois, days after the 1968 slaying of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The family have demanded the arrest of the officer who shot Mr Blake, and said other officers involved in the incident should be fired.
Why was Jacob Blake shot
Kenosha police have said little about what happened other than that they were responding to a domestic dispute. On Wednesday, three days after the shooting, state authorities identified the officer who shot Blake as Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department. Sheskey shot Blake while holding onto his shirt after officers first unsuccessfully used a Taser, the Wisconsin Justice Department said. State agents later recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of the vehicle, the department said.
However, Crump issued a statement late Wednesday saying Blake “did nothing to provoke police” and was “only intending to get his children out of a volatile situation” at the time.
What does the video clip of Blake being shot say
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. In the footage, Blake walks from the sidewalk around the front of his SUV to his driver-side door as officers follow him with their guns pointed and shout at him. As Blake opens the door and leans into the SUV, an officer grabs his shirt from behind and opens fire while Blake has his back turned.
Seven shots can be heard, though it isn’t clear how many struck Blake or how many officers fired. Police did not say whether Blake was armed or why police opened fire, they released no details on the domestic dispute, and they did not immediately disclose the race of the three officers at the scene.
Why are sports players boycotting games
Major League Soccer players boycotted five games Wednesday night in a collective statement against racial injustice. The action came after all three NBA playoff games were called off in a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin on Sunday night. Players from games between Atlanta United and Inter Miami, FC Dallas and Colorado, Portland and San Jose, Real Salt Lake and LAFC, and the LA Galaxy and Seattle all decided not to play in solidarity.
Colorado forward Kei Kamara posted on social media: “We made a decision together as players and staffs to not play our game tonight because there’s more happening in our country to distract our minds to soccer. This is the first time I can agree to the saying `It’s just a game.’”
Fourth-seeded Naomi Osaka reached the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday and withdrew a few hours later in a call for racial justice, drawing quick support from other players. Soon after, the whole tournament was put on hold for a day. Osaka tweeted that as a Black woman, she feels compelled to pull out of the tournament to put a focus on police shooting Black people.
(With inputs from AP, Reuters)
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