Blake family launching civil suit against Wisconsin police department
Lawyers representing the family of Jacob Blake, the Black man shot in the back at point-blank range by police in Kenosha, Wis., announced that a civil suit would be launched against the Kenosha Police Department.
“This is real, America. This is what we have to endure every day. … For Black America, this is our reality,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said during a press conference with members of the Blake family and their legal team.
“We are demanding that the prosecutor arrest the officer who shot Jacob Blake,” Crump continued, adding that other officers involved in the incident should be “terminated immediately.”
Asked about the civil suit, the Kenosha Police Department directed The Hill to the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), which is investigating the shooting. The Wisconsin DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Blake, 29, was shot multiple times in Kenosha on Sunday afternoon after officers responded to a reported domestic incident.
Graphic cellphone footage showed Blake walking away from a pair of police officers toward his car. As he attempted to get in his car — where his three children were — an unidentified officer could be seen pulling Blake back by his shirt before firing off several rounds.
Witnesses have said that Blake was not a part of the incident but was trying to break it up when police arrived.
State Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) on Monday vowed to “vigorously and fully investigate” what happened.
Crump said that Blake was in critical condition and undergoing surgery on Tuesday afternoon. Earlier in the day, the lawyer tweeted that Blake was paralyzed from his waist down, with Crump adding during the press conference that it would be a “miracle” if Blake were able to walk again.
Patrick Salvi, another attorney working for the family, detailed Blake’s injuries, reporting that the bullets had punctured his stomach and done severe damage to his spinal cord. Salvi added that the majority of Blake’s colon and large intestine also had to be removed and that more surgeries awaited him.
“They shot my son seven times, like he didn’t matter, but he matters. He’s a human being, and he matters,” Jacob Blake Sr. said during the press conference.
Julia Jackson, Blake’s mother, described what happened to her son as a “senseless attempted murder.”
She also said that the violence and property damage that have occurred in Kenosha since Sunday do not “reflect my son or my family.”
“I’m encouraging everyone in Wisconsin and abroad to take a moment to examine your hearts. We need healing,” she said.
Protests have rocked Kenosha the past two days. In response, a curfew of 8 p.m. has been instituted and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) mobilized the state’s National Guard. Tuesday afternoon, Evers announced that he would be increasing the National Guard’s presence in the city.
“We are assessing the damage to state property and will be increasing the presence of the Wisconsin National Guard to ensure individuals can exercise their right safely, protect state buildings and critical infrastructure, and support first responders and fire fighters,” Evers tweeted.
Police brutality, protests and the Black Lives Matter movement have been in the national spotlight since the end of May, when George Floyd, a Black man, was killed in Minneapolis.
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