Black man paralysed from waist down after being shot in back by police, father says

A black man repeatedly shot in the back by police in Wisconsin has been left paralysed from the waist down, his father has said.

Jacob Blake’s shooting by at least one officer in Kenosha has sparked two nights of angry protests in the city after mobile phone footage of the encounter was viewed by millions online.

His father, also named Jacob Blake, told the Chicago Sun-Times he learned on Sunday night that officers had shot his son eight times, and that he saw the now-viral video of it online a few minutes later.

Demonstrators retreat from tear gas fired by police
Image:Demonstrators retreat from tear gas fired by police

“What justified all those shots?,” he said.

“What justified doing that in front of my grandsons? What are we doing?”

He said he was driving from Charlotte, North Carolina, to be with his son in the city between Milwaukee and Chicago.

His son now has “eight holes” in his body and is paralysed from the waist down, he said, though doctors do not know if the paralysis will be permanent.

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Police again fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters who defied a curfew during a second night of demonstrations on Monday, some of whom threw bottles and shot fireworks at officers guarding the courthouse.

Kenosha is the latest focus of fury in the US during a summer of racial unrest.

Jacob Blake, a black man shot by police in Wisconsin. Pic: Ben Crump
Image:Mr Blake, whose father says is paralysed from the waist down. Pic: Ben Crump

Video of police shooting Mr Blake as he leaned into his vehicle – apparently while three of his children were sitting in it – has been circulated widely on social media.

With the 29-year-old in hospital in serious condition, the shooting drew condemnation from Democratic governor Tony Evers.

He also deployed 125 members of the National Guard after protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and clashed with officers in riot gear the previous night.

Wisconsin protests

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Police first fired tear gas about half an hour after the 8pm curfew took effect to disperse protesters.

Demonstrators chanted “No justice, no peace” as they confronted a line of officers who wore protective gear and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the courthouse entrance.

Hundreds of people remained at the protest in defiance of the curfew, screaming at police and lighting fires, including to a bin lorry near the courthouse.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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