Jacob Blake's family to take part in historic march in Washington as Kenosha shooting suspect appears in court

Civil rights attorney representing victim's family says his mother will speak at rally and call 'for us to heal this country and also to examine our hearts'

Chris Riotta
New York
Friday 28 August 2020 04:41 BST
Jacob Blake's family give emotional comments following police shooting

The family of Jacob Blake, a black man who was shot by police in a confrontation that has sparked national protests, will participate in a historic march in Washington on Friday, according to their attorney.

Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer and activist, said Mr Blake’s parents would attend the rally against police brutality and address the crowds, which were expected to reach record levels.

“I'm sure his mother's gonna be calling for us to heal this country and also to examine our hearts as she so eloquently said when we were in Kenosha, Wisconsin," Mr Crump said in an interview with CNN. "And his father, I'm sure is going to be saying that this is a problem and we have to speak truth to power."

As the “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” rally is held in the nation’s capital, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, a self-described militia member who was arrested as a fugitive of justice and charged with homicide, was due to appear in court on Friday.

Police said the 17-year-old shot at innocent victims while out on the streets during the protests in Kenosha sparked by the shooting of Mr Blake, which have continued throughout the week. A 26-year-old avid skateboarder and 36-year-old father of a young daughter were killed in the shooting.

Those victims, Anthony Huber of Silver Lake and Gaige Grosskeutz of Kenosha, were identified after video showed a gunman opening fire in the middle of the streets amid the protests.

A video that has since gone viral seemingly shows Rittenhouse patrolling the streets of Kenosha during the protests, a rifle strapped to his body, as he speaks about what he was doing.

The teen can be heard saying: “So people are getting injured and our job is to protect this business, and part of my job is to also help people. If there is somebody hurt, I’m running into harm’s way.

“That’s why I have my rifle because I need to protect myself, obviously,” he added. “I also have my med kit.”

The death of Mr Blake, a black man who was shot seven times in the back by a white police officer, has sparked nationwide protests that began in Kenosha and have since spread to cities like Los Angeles, California. Local officials have described those demonstrations as largely peaceful.

In a statement to reporters on Thursday, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said: “Since Wednesday, the entire atmosphere of Kenosha has changed dramatically as far as the people who live here. The crowds last night were small, it was a few hundred people and they walked peacefully through Kenosha.”

He added: “I think the people that were here last night were Kenosha's people. ... A huge part of me thinks that a lot of our issues start when different people with different agendas come here to Kenosha."

Mr Blake’s family has called for healing and unity in the wake of his shooting. He remains in hospital and is said to be paralysed from the waist down.

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