Jacob Blake’s dad says son left paralysed by police shooting as protests continue

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent

The father of Jacob Blake, a black man who was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, says his son was left paralysed from the waist down.

The shooting has led to two nights of unrest in the city and prompted a huge wave of protests, as anger mounts towards the police.

Mr Blake’s father told the Chicago Sun-Times he was told his son was shot eight times during the Sunday evening confrontation with police, which was captured on video.

The 29-year-old was shot - apparently in the back - as he leaned into his SUV, while his three children sat in the vehicle. He was hospitalised in a serious condition.

The father, who is also named Jacob Blake, was driving from Charlotte, North Carolina to be with his son.

He told the newspaper his son now has “eight holes” in his body and is paralysed from the waist down, though doctors don’t know if the paralysis will be permanent.

Anger over the shooting spilled into the streets of Kenosha for a second night on Monday, with police again firing tear gas at hundreds of protesters who defied a curfew, threw bottles and shot fireworks at law enforcement guarding the courthouse.

Protesters chanted "No justice, no peace," and "Black lives matter" as they confronted a line of police officers - bearing shields and wearing protective gear - stood shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the courthouse entrance.

Police first fired the tear gas about 30 minutes after the 8pm curfew took effect, but protesters refused to disperse, with hundreds of people remaining in the area.

Wisconsin’s Governor Tony Evers announced earlier in the day that 125 members of the National Guard would be in Kenosha by night.

Police clash with protesters near the Kenosha County Courthouse. Credit: AP

He said they were tasked with "guarding infrastructure and making sure our firefighters and others involved are protected."

Tensions were further exacerbated after a news conference with Kenosha Mayor John Antarmian, originally to be held in a park, was moved inside the city’s public safety building.

Hundreds of protesters rushed to the building and a door was snapped off its hinges before police in riot gear pepper-sprayed the crowd.

Police fired tear gas at protesters breaking the 8pm curfew. Credit: AP

The move came after protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and clashed with officers in riot gear on Sunday night.

Footage of Mr Blake's shooting has been widely seen in a mobile phone video made by an onlooker.

Police have said they were responding to a call about a domestic dispute.

An American flag burns as tensions rise in Wisconsin. Credit: AP

They did not say whether Mr 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.

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.

Mr White added that he did not see a knife in Mr Blake's hands while Wisconsin's governor said that he has seen no information to suggest Mr Blake had a knife or other weapon.

Gov Evers added, however, that the case is still being investigated by the state Justice Department.

Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian tries to speak to protesters Credit: Morry Gash/AP

The officers involved were placed on administrative leave, which is standard practice in a shooting by police.

Authorities released no details about the officers or their service records.

Wisconsin's Governor Tony Evers was quick to condemn the bloodshed, saying that while not all details were known, "what we know for certain is that he is not the first black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country".

Police stand beside a message from protesters sprayed onto the Kenosha County Courthouse. Credit: AP

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called for "an immediate, full and transparent investigation" adding the officers "must be held accountable."

"This morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another black American is a victim of excessive force," he said.

"Those shots pierce the soul of our nation."

Republicans and the police union accused the politicians of rushing to judgement, reflecting the deep partisan divide in Wisconsin, a key presidential battleground state.

Protesters hold up Black Lives Matter signs Credit: Morry Gash/AP

Wisconsin GOP members also decried the violent protests, echoing the law-and-order theme that President Donald Trump has been using in his reelection campaign.

"As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident," Pete Deates, president of the Kenosha police union, said in a statement.

He called the governor’s statement "wholly irresponsible."