Jacob Blake shooting: Two dead during Wisconsin protests

26 August 2020, 12:56

Two people have been shot dead during protests over the shooting of Jacob Blake
Two people have been shot dead during protests over the shooting of Jacob Blake. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Two people have been shot dead in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during the third night of protests over the police shooting of a black man.

Police in the city said two people died after three were shot during demonstrations over the shooting of Jacob Blake, who has been left paralysed after being fired at multiple times in the back by an officer.

Kenosha Police Lieutenant Joseph Nosalik said the shooting was reported at around 11:45pm in the area where three nights of protests have been taking place.

The third person who was shot during the incident is in a serious condition at a local hospital but their injuries are said to be non-life-threatening.

An investigation into the shooting is under way and no other information has been released, including the names of the victims.

Read more: Police and protesters clash in US state for second night

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Mr Blake's family said it would "take a miracle" for him to walk again and called for the officer who opened fire to be arrested and the others involved to lose their jobs.

The 29-year-old appeared to be shot in the back seven times by police on Sunday, in a mobile phone video shared online, while three of his children in a car looked on.

His shooting has sparked new protests over racial injustice in several cities, including Los Angeles, Wisconsin's capital Madison and Minneapolis, where just three months earlier the death of George Floyd at the hands of police ignited mass demonstrations.

On Tuesday, Mr Blake's father - who is also named Jacob - spoke alongside other family members and lawyers, telling reporters that police shot his son "seven times, seven times, like he didn't matter".

"But my son matters. He's a human being and he matters," the elder Mr Blake said.

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Read more: Protests erupt in US state after police shoot black man

Lawyer Ben Crump said the younger Jacob Blake is in surgery after the bullets fired at him severed his spinal cord and shattered his vertebrae, while another lawyer added there was also severe damage to his organs.

"It's going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr to ever walk again," Mr Crump said.

A civil lawsuit will be filed against the police department over the shooting, which the police have so far said little about, other than that they were responding to a domestic dispute.

The officers involved have not been named but were placed on administrative leave - standard practice in a shooting by police - and the Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating.

Police deployed tear gas for the third night in a row on Tuesday in a bid to break up protesters who had gathered outside Kenosha's courthouse.

Some were shaking a protective fence, while others threw water bottles and fireworks at officers lined up behind it.

Armoured vehicles and officers with shields were used to push back the crowd when demonstrators ignored warnings to leave a nearby park.

Wisconsin governor Tony Evers called for calm on Tuesday, while also declaring a state of emergency. He also doubled the National Guard deployment in Kenosha from 125 to 250.

"We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue," Mr Evers said. "We also cannot continue going down this path of damage and destruction."

Mr Blake's mother, Julia Jackson, said the damage in Kenosha does not reflect what her family wants and that, if her son could see it, he would be "very unpleased".

She said the first thing her son said to her when she saw him was that he was sorry.

Ms Jackson said: "He said, 'I don't want to be a burden on you guys, I want to be with my children, and I don't think I'll walk again.'"

The man who claimed to have made the video, 22-year-old Raysean White, said that he saw Mr Blake scuffling with three officers and heard them yell, "Drop the knife! Drop the knife!" before the gunfire erupted.

However, he said he did not see a knife in Mr Blake's hands.