Black man police shot is 'paralysed', father says

Black man police shot is 'paralysed', father says
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Media captionWisconsin's Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes says the shooting was "familiar violence to too many of us"

The black man shot many times in the back by Wisconsin police officers is paralysed from the waist down, his father has said.

Jacob Blake, 29, was shot several times as he went to a car and opened its door in the city of Kenosha on Sunday.

The shooting sparked two nights of protests in the city, with buildings and cars set alight.

His father has now told a US newspaper that his son is paralysed - although doctors do not know if it is permanent.

Jacob Blake Snr told the Chicago Sun Times his son had "eight holes" in his body.

"What justified all those shots?" his father asked. "What justified doing that in front of my grandsons? What are we doing?"

Video footage of Mr Blake's shooting, taken from across the street and shared on social media, shows the father-of-three leaning into the car and an officer grabbing his shirt, with seven shots heard.

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Media captionThe US police shooting of Jacob Blake sparks protests in Wisconsin

Within hours of Mr Blake's shooting, hundreds of people had marched on Kenosha's police headquarters. Cars were later set alight, and police urged 24-hour businesses to consider closing because of "numerous" calls about armed robberies and shots being fired.

On Monday, Governor Tony Evers called up the National Guard to aid local police, with a curfew imposed on the city of about 100,000 on the south-western shore of Lake Michigan from 20:00 local time (01:00 GMT) until 07:00 on Tuesday.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption There have been two nights of protests so far in Kenosha

But some ignored the curfew, and police used tear gas to try to force protesters - some of whom were throwing water bottles - to disperse. Officers, who were backed up by the National Guard, also used rubber bullets and smoke bombs, protesters said.

Some demonstrators were seen attacking cars and property with baseball bats, news agency Reuters reported, while others set cars alight.

Protests have also spread to a number of other cities, including Portland and Minneapolis.

What do we know about the shooting?

Kenosha Police Department said the "officer involved shooting" happened shortly after 17:00 on Sunday.

Police said they were responding to a domestic incident, but so far it is so unclear who called the police and how many officers were involved, and what happened before the shooting. Police in Kenosha do not have body cameras, although they do have microphones.

Lawyers for Mr Blake said he had been trying to "de-escalate a domestic incident" when police drew their weapons.

The person who shot the video, Raysean White, told CNN that before he began taking it, he saw police wrestle, punch and Taser Mr Blake.

It was then he started recording. Mr Blake is shown walking around the front of the SUV. The two officers closest to Mr Blake at this point on the video are white males.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Wisconsin's Department of Justice is investigating the incident

As Mr Blake opens the door and leans into the car, one officer can be seen grabbing his shirt and opening fire. Seven shots can be heard in the video, as witnesses shout and scream.

Police said that officers had provided "immediate aid" to Mr Blake, who was taken to a hospital in Milwaukee in serious condition.

Mr Blake's fiancée Laquisha Booker, described how the children - who witnessed everything as they sat in the back of the car - were screaming as their father was shot.

Speaking to a local NBC channel, she asked why the police would shoot someone "who's not armed, not giving you no problems".

"I've been yelling that the whole time, let me get my kids. So that's not important to y'all. What's important is killing somebody," she added.

Police said that officers had provided "immediate aid" to Mr Blake, who was taken to a hospital in Milwaukee in serious condition.

What has the reaction been?

Wisconsin's Department of Justice is investigating the incident in Kenosha, while the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave. A petition calling for them to be charged has garnered tens of thousands of signatures.

Governor Evers, who is a Democrat, has said there will be a special session of the state legislature on 31 August to discuss a package of laws announced earlier this year on accountability and transparency of the police following the police killing of George Floyd.

Lawmakers had "failed to act" in the two months since he announced the "commonsense policies", the governor tweeted.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday released a statement calling for a "full and transparent investigation" of the shooting.

What is the significance of this incident?

Mr Blake's shooting comes as the US grapples with the treatment of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement, as well as wider questions about racism in society.

Debates were triggered by the death in police custody in Minneapolis of another black man, George Floyd, in May.

Mr Floyd's death sparked protests around the country, and abroad, and has ignited calls for police reform in the US.

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