Lindsey Graham asks why Jacob Blake didn't 'yield' to officers

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators The 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill MORE (R-S.C.) on Tuesday questioned the actions Jacob Blake took before the 29-year-old Black man was shot several times by a police officer in Kenosha, Wis., asking why Blake “didn’t yield.”

Graham spoke at a press conference announcing the endorsement of the South Carolina Fraternal Order of Police, according to Politico, when he was asked about the latest shooting of a Black man by police, which has sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality.

“I don't know what happened there. Let's find out. It's dangerous being a cop,” Graham said. “I don't know why the gentleman didn't yield when he was asked to yield. I don't know what the facts are.”

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Blake was shot by a Kenosha officer responding to a domestic dispute on Sunday, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. 

Video captured by a witness shows Blake walking around an SUV on the side of a street as two officers trail him with their firearms pointed in his direction. After Blake opens the driver's side front door and leans into the vehicle, an officer fires his weapon seven times as he grabs Blake's shirt, the clip shows. 

Blake's three children were in the car at the time of the shooting, his attorney said. 

His family said Tuesday that the man is paralyzed from the waist down. He remains hospitalized in serious condition, and his father said there are now “eight holes” in the lower half of his body.

“What justified all those shots?” Blake's father said to the Chicago Sun-Times. “What justified doing that in front of my grandsons? What are we doing?”

The shooting sparked massive protests in Kenosha, and Wisconsin Gov. Tony EversTony EversWisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes enters Senate race Wisconsin adds gender neutral option to birth certificates Overnight Health Care: House panels launch probe into Alzheimer's drug | Half of public health workers experiencing mental health strain | Puerto Rico presses Congress to prevent 'Medicaid cliff' MORE (D) activated the National Guard to assist local law enforcement.

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The officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave.

Blake’s shooting has gained national attention since footage of his encounter with police went viral and follows months of demonstrations across the country over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. 

Graham argued on Tuesday that Floyd’s death was an example of bad policing, calling it “heinous” and “wrong.” 

“Police are not above the law,” Graham said, according to Politico. “There are places where police act with impunity. This is not one of those nations.”

Graham is currently up for reelection in South Carolina, a state with more than 30 percent Black residents, and is facing a fierce challenge from Democrat Jamie Harrison.

The Cook Political Report last week shifted its outlook for the race toward Harrison, a former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman and the first African American to serve in that role.

“Racial injustice protests that swept the nation in early June also give Harrison, who is Black, further motivation for turning out African-American voters in the state,” Jessica Taylor, the Senate and governor’s editor for The Cook Political Report, wrote in an analysis of the South Carolina race.

“Were Harrison to upset Graham, South Carolina — the first state to secede from the Union in 1860 — would become the first state in history to have two Black senators serving at the same time, joining Republican Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottSenate passes bill to award Congressional Gold Medal to first Black NHL player Scott: 'There is hope' for police reform bill Sunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe MORE.”