Jacob Blake's relatives held an emotional rally on Saturday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where over 1,000 people demanded "Justice for Jacob" and sang "Seven Bullets, Seven Days," an indication of the number of times a Blake police officer was in City had shot back a few days ago.
The district court demonstration was the largest since Blake, who is Black, was shot last Sunday. It resulted in three days of overnight unrest, during which parked cars and brick buildings in the city center were burned down, the National Guard was called on patrol and a white teenager was arrested and accused of fatally shooting two white protesters on Tuesday.
Blake's gunfire, captured on a cell phone video, sparked complaints of police brutality and demonstrations as observers pointed out that this is another example of violence against a black person, despite the racism settlement resulting from the murder of George Floyd, also Black, was raised by police in Minneapolis on May 25th.
Jacob Blake Sr. said his 29 year old son is now paralyzed.
“My son, in the hospital the other day, took my hand and said, 'Dad, I love you. Why did they shoot me so often? “Said Blake Sr. at the rally on Saturday.
Blake Sr., speaking in Washington, DC, the day before on the anniversary of the March in Washington, was referring to Floyd, who died after an officer kneeled on his neck for over eight minutes. "We all have a knee behind us every day," he said.
Crowds march at the Justice for Jacob Blake rally on Saturday.
(Morry Gash / Associated Press)
Blake's sister Letetra Widman asked the supporters to "stand up not only for Jacob, but for all people who have not received justice".
A white officer who was responding to a call about a domestic dispute last Sunday shot Blake in the back as Blake got into his SUV.
The images of the shooting spread worldwide this week after neighbors captured the scene on video. Three officers are on vacation as state officials and the U.S. Department of Justice investigate.
Police said Blake had a knife in his car, but they did not say if they knew about the knife when they shot him.
A Blake attorney, Benjamin Crump, said the family were planning to file a civil lawsuit to cover Blake's medical bills.
"I don't want to make you homeless. I don't want you to be out of a shop," said Blake Sr., who urged protesters to keep the peace in the city, which is now under curfew from 7pm until 7am
Some rally attendees said the difference in justice between blacks and whites was evident when the white teenager charged with the murder of two people, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch, Ill., Struck the scene Tuesday with an assault rifle . He was arrested without incident the next day.
Police describe Rittenhouse as a self-proclaimed vigilante who came to town to protect businesses. Rittenhouse lawyers said over the weekend that he defended himself and referred to videos showing he was being followed by a small crowd, which included those he ended up shooting.
“Kyle didn't do anything wrong. He has made use of his God-given, constitutional, common and legal rights to self-defense, "Attorney John Pierce said in a statement.
Jacob Blake's father, Jacob Blake Sr., at the Saturday rally.
(Morry Gash / Associated Press)
The Kenosha shootings have become a focus of a presidential campaign in which former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate, has shown his support for the Black Lives Matter movement while President Trump has vowed to “law” in troubled cities and order ”enforce clashes between police and protesters.
Biden, who says he could visit, spoke to Blake's family and condemned "unnecessary violence" in Kenosha. The White House said Trump would visit Tuesday to assess the damage and meet with law enforcement officials. Officials did not say whether he would meet the Blake family.
In an interview published on Saturday, Trump made his most direct statement about the shooting. “It wasn't a good sight. I certainly didn't like the sight, and I think most people would agree, ”the president, who held a rally the day before in Londonderry, N.H., told WMUR-TV.
The Kenosha Police Department and the county sheriff's department have been criticized by black leaders, including those in the National Assn. for promoting colored people who said officers and MPs had not done enough to protect protesters and accused law enforcement officers of empowering armed militia groups.
The NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Wisconsin Task Force on Criminal Justice Reform, and 32 other government organizations on Saturday sent a letter to Democratic Governor Tony Evers and Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian resigning Kenosha Police Commissioner Daniel Miskinis and Kenosha County Sheriff Daniel challenged Beth.
"Your behavior and failure to respond to the attempted murder of Jacob Blake and the murder of two protesters shot by a 17-year-old white man are outrageous," it said.
Antaramian, who has been mayor since 1992, said he would not support her resignation.