MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) — Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Black man shot by Kenosha police on Sunday, is currently paralyzed from the waist down, his family’s legal team confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who has been retained by Blake’s family and also represents George Floyd’s family, confirmed the condition on Twitter and said that he is “praying it’s not permanent.” Blake’s family and legal team — including Crump, Chicago-based attorney Patrick Salvi, and Milwaukee-based attorney B’Ivory Lamarr, who also represents Joel Acevedo’s family — provided further updates in a press conference later that day.
“It is going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr. to ever walk again,” Crump said at the event. “He is currently in surgery as we speak, still struggling to sustain his life.”
Blake has been receiving treatment at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. He was airlifted there shortly after he was shot multiple times by Kenosha police while trying to get into his car, where three of his sons were sitting in the backseat.
A release from Blake’s legal team today says Blake was trying to deescalate a domestic incident when the police arrived, drew their weapons, and tasered him. Blake was trying to check on his children in the car when police fired their weapons at him at point blank range, they say.
The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave as the Wisconsin Department of Justice conducts an investigation on the incident.
Salvi, one of the attorneys, detailed some of Blake’s injuries at the press conference. He said at least one bullet went through some or all of Blake’s spinal cord, and that Blake had to have nearly his entire colon and small intestine removed. Blake also suffered damage to his kidney, liver, and stomach, and was shot in the arm, according to Salvi.
“As you can imagine, when at least seven, as many as eight bullets from point blank range enter the human body, and shred through the tissue of the human body,” Salvi said, “that can cause, and did in this case, severe and likely permanent injury.”
Blake’s parents, Julia Jackson and Jacob Blake Sr., also spoke at the conference.
Jackson said she had been able to visit her son in the hospital. Though he’s on a lot of pain medication and not completely lucid, she said she was able to talk with and pray with him.
“The first thing he did when he looked at me was cry and begin to say, ‘I’m sorry about all of this,’” she said. “He said, ‘I don’t want a burden on anyone. I want to be with my children. And I don’t think I’m going to walk again, Mom.’”
The attorneys said they planned to file a civil lawsuit and also demanded that the prosecutor arrest the officer who shot Blake. Salvi said the lawsuit is meant to “hold wrongdoers accountable” as well as provide Blake the resources he’d need in his lengthy medical recovery.
Law enforcement has yet to release additional details about the events leading up to the shooting, and Crump said the family has so far not gotten access to any dashcam footage. The Justice Department’s Division of Criminal Investigation is expected to produce a report within 30 days, which the prosecutor will use to determine whether to file charges.
As the investigation gets underway, protests are continuing to heat up in Kenosha and beyond. Jackson urged demonstrators to make their demands peacefully, and said her son would not want to see “violence and destruction.”
“Citizens, police officers, firemen, clergy, politicians, do Jacob justice on this level and examine your hearts,” Jackson said. “We need healing. As I pray for my son’s healing, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I also have been praying, even before this, for the healing of our country.”