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Kenosha protests: Stars including Kevin Hart and Lebron James show support for Jacob Blake after police shooting that left him paralysed

Mr Blake is in the ICU recovering from his gun shot wounds

Danielle Zoellner
Tuesday 25 August 2020 15:37 BST
Police fire tear gas in second night of unrest in Wisconsin

Stars like Kevin Hart and Lebron James have joined the many voicing support for Jacob Blake after he was shot by Kenosha Police Department officers on Sunday evening.

Hart took to social media on Tuesday to express his frustration that, based on the video footage, officers chose to shoot Mr Blake instead of finding other ways to detain him during the altercation. James also gave his thoughts on the situation, saying, "We are scared as black people living in America".

Mr Blake's father, also named Jacob Blake, revealed on Tuesday morning that his son was paralysed from the waist down after he was shot by police seven times. The doctors don't yet know if the paralysis will be permanent. The 29-year-old man remains in the ICU as he recovers from his injuries.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump is now representing Mr Blake and his family. Mr Crump already represents the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Trayford Pellerin – all of whom have died in altercations with police officers across the US.

In an interview, Mr Crump said they have no received any evidence to disprove that Mr Blake was unarmed during the altercation with police. Bystanders said they maybe heard police say Mr Blake had a knife, but no reports have yet indicated if that is true.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigations is now investigating the shooting that occurred on Sunday evening. The two officers, who have not yet been identified, involved are reportedly cooperating with the investigation but have been placed on administrative leave.

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley confirmed on Monday that the investigation into the shooting that took place on Sunday evening in Kenosha, Wisconsin was under investigation, but it was in its "early stages".

After the investigation is complete, all information will be handed over to the district attorney's office and they will file charges if warranted.

Protests have mounted in Kenosha following the shooting, with these protests often turning violent in the evenings. Local businesses have been looted and set on fire, and protesters have clashed with police in riot gear.


Hello. Welcome to The Independent's live coverage of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Danielle Zoellner25 August 2020 13:50

Lebron James calls for for justice in the wake of the Wisconsin shooting

Lebron James has become the latest athlete to react to the news of an unarmed black man being shot by police on Sunday evening. 

He said he felt "sorry" for Jacob Blake in a tweet and wanted justice. 

Danielle Zoellner25 August 2020 14:00

Kenosha delayed body cameras for years prior to Jacob Blake's shooting

City and law enforcement officials of Kenosha, Wisconsin, unanimously approved the use of body cameras by police officers in 2017 as a way to improve accountability and provide evidence to cases. 

But since the unanimous decision, the implementation of the change has been delayed due to a hefty price tag on body camera equipment and policy concerns. 

Now the city is potentially regretting the pause to provide body cameras to all officers, as none of the Kenosha Police Department officers on the scene during the Jacob Blake shooting were equipped with the equipment on Sunday. 

Instead, the public has used a video taken by a bystander, which has since circulated on social media, to tell the story of what potentially went down between officers and Mr Blake. In the video, Mr Blake is seen walking around to the driver's side of his car, which held his three children. That was when officers shot him multiple times in the back. 

If the officers had worn body cameras during the altercation, it would provide information as to what occurred before and after what the video shows. 

Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian confirmed Monday that current plans call for the city to buy body cameras in 2022, five years after the unanimous decision to use the equipment. There are cameras in each squad car, but it is not clear if the camera captured any moments from the altercation with Mr Blake. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Danielle Zoellner25 August 2020 14:13

Investigation into Wisconsin shooting in 'early stages', county district attorney says

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley confirmed on Monday that the investigation into the shooting that took place on Sunday evening in Kenosha, Wisconsin was under investigation, but it was in its "early stages". 

The shooting involved Kenosha Police Department officers and an unarmed black man, later identified as Jacob Blake. 

The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigations is leading the investigation. Then once the investigation is complete, all information will be handed over to the district attorney. 

"We're asked to make two determinations based on the evidence that is presented," Mr Graveley said. "One, did any officer, in this case, commit any crimes, and two, are there any crimes that we believe were committed that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt?"

"If those two things are concluded as a yes, then criminal charges would be brought at the end of that process," he added.

Currently, two officers are on administrative leave following the shooting. Officials said they have been cooperating with the investigation. 

The local police union has urged the public to avoid passing judgement until all the facts are known about the case, adding the video currently circulating on social media of the altercation only shows one version of the events from that day.  

Danielle Zoellner25 August 2020 14:35

BREAKING NEWS: Black man shot seven times in back by police is paralysed, says father

The father of a black man who was shot in the back several times by police said his son is now paralysed.

Jacob Blake's father – who is also named Jacob Blake – told the Chicago Sun-Times that he'd been informed by doctors that his son had been shot eight times and that he would be paralysed from the waist down as a result.

Mr Blake was shot Sunday by police while they were responding to a domestic disturbance call. An officer shot Mr Blake in his back while he was trying to get into his SUV. Mr Blake's children were in the vehicle and were witness to the shooting.

More on this breaking news here: 

Danielle Zoellner25 August 2020 14:41

Man who filmed Jacob Blake's shooting says he can't sleep and is 'traumatised' – 'we are scared for our lives'

The man who filmed the police shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Wisconsin man now fighting for his life in hospital, has said he is deeply disturbed by having seen the incident unfold just yards from his own house> 

Speaking to CNN, Raysean White said that he did not know Mr Blake, but felt intense pain over what he witnessed during the events he filmed

"It's disturbing to actually look out the window where I live and see this man get shot by the police seven times," he said. "It's highly disturbing to me, but I'm pretty sure Jacob's kids were more traumatised than anybody during the whole situation."

Andrew Naughtie reports: 

Danielle Zoellner25 August 2020 15:05

'We are scared as black people': Lebron James speaks publicly about the shooting of Jacob Blake

Lebron James spoke about the recent shooting of Jacob Blake following an NBA game on Monday evening. 

"If you're siting here and telling me there is no way to subdue that gentleman, or detain him, or to ... before the firing of guns, then you're sitting here ... you're lying to not only me, you're lying to ever African American, every black person in the community," he said. "Because we see it over and over and over." 

If you watch the video, there was multiple moments where if they wanted to they could've tackled him, they could've grabbed him," he added. "Why does it always have to get to the point where we see the guns firing?" 

"I know people get tired of me saying it but we are scared as black people in America." 

James has become a leading voice in the movement to end systemic racism and police brutality across the country. He not only addressed the news of Mr Blake being shot in an on-air interview, but he also tweeted about the story and called for justice. 

Danielle Zoellner25 August 2020 15:25

'Thank god he is alive': Uncle of Jacob Blake says video of his nephew 'took his breath away' 

Justin Blake, Jacob Blake's uncle, has spoken out after watching his nephew get shot seven times by Kenosha Police Department officers on Sunday. 

"Thank God he's alive," Mr Blake said when speaking to CNN. "We're just praying for a great recovery, that he may have a great quality of life and that his father, my brother can enjoy him."

Video footage circulated of his nephew, 29, getting shot by police, and Mr Blake said the footage "took his breath away". 

The 29-year-old man is currently in the ICU recovering from the shooting. His father revealed that he is currently paralysed from the waist down and doctors don't yet know if the paralysis will be permanent. 

"Anything like this will shock the hell out of anybody, to see your son in that situation," Mr Blake said.

"This, like all the Black parents talk about, is that phone call you don't want to get," he added. "And we got it."

Danielle Zoellner25 August 2020 15:45

Jacob Blake's father says there are 'eight holes' in his body from the shooting

Jacob Blake's father, also called Jacob Blake, has provided more details into his son's injuries following the shooting by Kenosha Police Department officers on Sunday evening. 

When speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times, he said he was told his son was shot eight times and there are now "eight holes" in his body. 

Officials have previously said officers fired seven shots at Mr Blake during the altercation. 

The 29-year-old is currently in a Milwaukee hospital recovering from his injuries. His father said he is paralysed from the waist down and doctors don't yet know if the paralysis will be permanent. 

Danielle Zoellner25 August 2020 16:05

Civil rights attorney to Jacob Blake accuses police of using 'excessive unnecessary force' 

Ben Crump – a civil rights attorney who also represents the families of George Floyd, Trayford Pellerin, Trayvon Martin, and Breonna Taylor – all of whom are black Americans killed by police – will now represent Jacob Blake and his family. 

When appearing on Good Morning America, Mr Crump said that he can confirm that four shots hit Mr Blake's body. He added that officials have reported an officer fired his weapon seven times at the man. 

"It seems yet again... we have police officers who are using excessive unnecessary force and shooting an unarmed black man in America," Mr Crump said. 

The attorney was then asked if there was any indication Mr Blake was armed during the altercation with police. Some eye witnesses said they heard police ask Mr Blake to drop "the knife". 

"We have no indication from the witnesses that have come forward to us," Mr Crump said. "The video shows what happened and now they are trying to justify the unjustifiable of shooting him in front of his children."

The Blake family is calling for the immediate firing of the officers involved, he added. 

Danielle Zoellner25 August 2020 16:28

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