A 29-year-old black man who was shot multiple times in Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States by a police officer have seen his spinal cord being damaged, his lawyers has said.
Days after Jacob Blake was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and large protests erupted, authorities are revealing more information about the shooting.
As reported by CNN, the investigation was quickly turned over to the Wisconsin Department of Justice and a federal civil rights investigation was launched, but so far neither Blake nor his family have heard from the agency, their attorneys said.
“We demand transparency in these circumstances. The family, the community, the state of Wisconsin and the country … all deserve answers,” attorney B’Ivory LaMarr told CNN. “The officers should be named, more importantly those officers should be charged.”
The 29-year-old was partially paralyzed after a bullet damaged his spinal cord, his lawyers said, and he’s struggling with multiple other injuries.
Here’s the latest on the investigation:
What are state and local authorities saying?
About the shooting: Kenosha officers were called to a domestic incident about 5:11 p.m. Sunday, police said. A woman called saying “her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises,” according to investigators from the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation.
In a police call, a dispatcher names Blake and says he “isn’t supposed to be there” and that he took the complainant’s keys and refused to leave. The dispatcher later explains she doesn’t have more details because the caller was “uncooperative.”
When officers arrived, they attempted to arrest Blake and used a Taser to try to stop him, the DCI said. Blake then walked around his vehicle, “opened the driver’s side door, and leaned forward,” the agency said.
Police said that about five minutes after the initial report, a dispatcher received reports of shots fired.
An officer had grabbed Blake’s shirt and fired his service weapon seven times into the 29-year-old’s back, state investigators said.
“No other officer fired their weapon,” the DCI says.
The officers rendered aid before Blake was flown to the Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, police said.
Authorities have not provided any more information about what led up to the shooting.
About the officers: Two Kenosha officers were placed on administrative leave, state officials said.
Officials identified Officer Rusten Sheskey as the person who shot Blake when he tried to enter his vehicle. The officer, who has been employed by Kenosha police for seven years, was placed on administrative leave, DCI said.
The local police union has urged the public to withhold judgment until a state investigation is complete.
Kenosha police officers don’t wear body cameras, Mayor John Antaramian said earlier this week, adding that it’s something that “has been under budget for a while.”
Police cars do have dashboard cameras but it’s unclear if there’s video of the incident.
What do the videos show?
A graphic video filmed by a man from across the street shows a Black man walking around the front of a gray SUV as two officers follow about a step or two behind him. One of the officers appeared to have his weapon trained on the man’s back.
As the Black man enters the driver side door of his car, the nearest officer grabs the tail of his tank top. Seven shots are heard.
Raysean White, the man who recorded the video, told CNN that he saw Blake get out of an SUV and approach his son, who was on the lawn. Blake told his son to get into the truck while Blake walked into the apartment building behind a woman who was outside, White said.
White stepped away but when he came back, White says he saw police wrestling with Blake.
“One of them had him in a headlock and was punching him in his ribs, the other had him in a headlock on the other side of him and was pulling his arm,” White told CNN.
“After they punched him in his rib, the female officer tased him and Jacob kind of leaned on the car and they proceeded to wrestle him toward the back of the car and he went to the other side of the car. When they were on the other side of the car on the ground, I had to pick up my camera and start recording.”
A second video obtained by CNN shows Blake struggling with police officers near the back of his SUV as a group of individuals surrounds them. In the video, Blake walks around the front of the vehicle followed by two officers and approaches the driver’s door moments before the shooting.
It’s still unclear what prompted the interaction, but the video shows a different vantage point of the moments before the shooting.
“As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident. We ask that you withhold from passing judgment until all the facts are known and released,” said Pete Deates, president of the Kenosha Professional Police Association.
What are Blake’s family and their attorneys saying?
While Blake remains hospitalized and has not been able to speak very much, his family and the attorneys representing them have discussed some details relating to the shooting.
About what happened before the shooting: Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney who represents Blake’s family, has said police shot Blake after he had tried to break up an argument between two women.
The officers “drew their weapons and tasered him” before they “fired their weapons several times into his back at point blank range,” Crump said.
Blake’s three young sons were inside the SUV that he was trying to enter when he was shot, Crump said.
“They shot my son seven times, seven times. Like he didn’t matter. But my son matters,” Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., told reporters. “He’s a human being and he matters.”
The DCI report says Blake told officers that he had a knife in his possession. Investigators later “recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard” of Blake’s vehicle and no other weapons were found, the agency said.
But Patrick Salvi Jr., another attorney representing the Blake family, told CNN that Blake didn’t have a weapon in the car.
“The suggestion that he was going to his car in order to start some sort of a fight with police officers with their guns drawn, is basically absurd,” Salvi said.
Crump has said the videos capturing the shooting show that Blake “never attacks police.”
“What we see is very clear, if there’s a scuffle … he’s not swinging at an officer, he’s not doing anything to attack an officer. He is trying to get away,” Crump told CNN.
However, no video has surfaced showing events leading up to the confrontation.
Blake’s family wants the police officers involved in the shooting to be held accountable, Crump said.