As Kenosha, Wisconsin, braces for a third night of protests against the shooting of Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old’s family on Tuesday decried racial injustice while calling for peace and the “healing of our country.”
“My son has been fighting for his life, and we just really need prayers. As I was riding through here, through the city, I noticed a lot of damage. That doesn’t reflect my son or my family,” Julia Jackson, Blake’s mother, said in a Tuesday press conference. “If Jacob knew what was going on, as far as that goes, the violence & destruction, he would be very unpleased.”
“Do Jacob justice on this level and examine your hearts. 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.”
A Kenosha police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black father, in the back several times on Sunday night as he tried to get into a van with his kids. The harrowing incident was recorded by a bystander in a video that quickly went viral, sparking two nights of unrest in the Wisconsin city.
“They shot my son seven times. Seven times. Like he didn’t matter. But my son matters. He’s a human being, and he matters,” Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old’s father, said Tuesday.
Patrick Salvin, one of the attorneys representing the Blake family, gave an update Tuesday on the 29-year-old’s condition, stating that he “has a long road ahead of him.” Salvin said several bullets went through Blake’s spinal cord, there are holes in his stomach, and he “had to have nearly his entire colon and small intestine removed.” The lawyer added Blake also suffered damage to his kidney and liver and “was also shot in the arm.”
Family members previously told The Daily Beast that Blake is currently “paralyzed from the waist down” and had surgery this morning to see if doctors could “get some nerves to work.”
“It’s going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake to ever walk again,” said civil-rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is also working with the Blake family.
Jackson said that when she saw her son, he apologized for what happened and told her he didn’t want to be a “burden on anyone.”
“I want to be with my children and I don’t think I’m going to walk again, mom,” she said he told her.
Blake’s mother pleaded for peace in her powerful statement, saying that the nation needs to begin “to pray for healing.”
“We are the United States. Have we been united? Do you understand what’s going to happen when we fall? Because a house that is against each other can not stand,” she said. “Clearly you can see I have beautiful brown skin. But take a look at your hand whatever shade it is, it is beautiful as well. How dare you hate what we are? We are humans.”
She added: “Let’s use our hearts, our love, and our intelligence to work together…to show the rest of the world how humans are supposed to treat each other. America is great when we behave greatly.”
Several family members hugged each other and wept as relatives spoke about the systematic racism that has plagued the United States and called for the officers involved in Blake’s shooting to be prosecuted. “I won’t want your pity, I want change,” one of Blake’s sisters said.
On Monday evening, police deployed tear gas on dozens of protesters gathered in the heart of the city, as several buildings erupted in flames. In response, residents hurled water bottles and bricks at law enforcement. Authorities on Monday deployed the Wisconsin National Guard to Kenosha and enacted a citywide curfew that continued into Tuesday.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said Monday the state’s Justice Department is “vigorously” investigating the shooting and “will unwaveringly pursue justice.” Kaul, however, said the DOJ was not yet releasing the identity or number of officers involved in the incident. He added that while the police have dash cams, the officers involved do not wear body cameras. The Department of Justice said Tuesday they are also aiding in the investigation.