Jacob Blake, the Kenosha shooting victim who remains hospitalized after being shot by police several times in the back, is handcuffed to his hospital bed, according to his family.
Jacob Blake Sr., the father of the 29-year-old victim, said his son was handcuffed to his bed when he went to visit him in the Wisconsin hospital on Wednesday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
"I hate it that he was laying in that bed with the handcuff onto the bed," his father told the outlet on Thursday. "He can’t go anywhere. Why do you have him cuffed to the bed?"
Justin Blake, the uncle of the father of six who was shot, also told CNN that Blake Sr. visited his son in the hospital, where he was recovering from at least one surgery, and was "heartbroken" to see that his son was handcuffed.
"This is an insult to injury," he told CNN. "He is paralyzed and can't walk and they have him cuffed to the bed. Why?"
Blake Sr. also revealed to the Chicago Sun-Times that his son is handcuffed because he is "under arrest," though he was uncertain what charges his son might be facing. "Right now, we don’t know. We’re playing it by ear," he said.
Blake, a Black man, was shot multiple times by a white police officer on Sunday in an incident that went viral after it was captured in bystander video.
The video appears to show police aiming guns at Blake, who is walking away from two officers. When he opens the driver's side door to a vehicle and appears to lean inside, at least seven gunshots are then heard.
Blake is currently paralyzed from the waist down as he continues to recover, according to his father. Doctors have not told the family yet whether or not the paralysis is permanent.
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On Wednesday, Rusten Sheskey was identified as the Kenosha Police Department officer who shot Blake, in a statement released by Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation. Sheskey has been with Kenosha Police Department for seven years.
According to officials, officers from the Kenosha Police Department were dispatched to a residence after a caller reported that her boyfriend, who was not supposed to be on the premises, was at the home. Officers on scene attempted to arrest Blake and deployed a taser, the DOJ said. Upon further investigation, Blake admitted that he had a knife in his possession, which authorities were able to retrieve from the driver’s side floorboard of the car. No other weapons were found.
The DOJ said all officers involved in the incident have now been placed on administrative leave and officials noted that no other officer fired their weapons. None of the officers were wearing body cameras at the time, as the Kenosha Police Department have not been equipped with them.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Blake's sister, Letetra Wideman, demanded change, saying the incident is "nothing new" in what the student of Black history portrayed as a lengthy run of violence against Black Americans.
"I am my brother's keeper," Wideman, 30, said at the news conference. "And when you say the name Jacob Blake, make sure you say father, make sure you say cousin, make sure you say son, make sure you say uncle, but most importantly make sure you say human. Human life. Let it marinate in your mind. A human life. … We're human, and his life matters."
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"So many people have reached out to me, telling me they're sorry that this happened to my family," she said. "Well, don't be sorry because this has been happening to my family for a long time, longer than I can account for."
"It happened to Emmett Till. Emmett Till is my family," she said, citing the 14-year-old Chicago teen whose 1955 murder in Mississippi made him a civil rights martyr. "It happened to Philando, Mike Brown, Sandra," she said, cataloguing three more Black victims who died at the hands of police or in police custody – Philando Castile, Michael Brown and Sandra Bland. "This has been happening to my family, and I've shed tears for every single one of these people that it's happened to."
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
- ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
- National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.
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