Jacob Blake, a Black man shot in the back by police in Wisconsin, is paralyzed from the waist down, but doctors do not know if the condition is permanent, his father and family’s lawyer said Tuesday.
The Chicago Sun-Times first reported the comments by the father, who is also named Jacob Blake, on Tuesday morning, two days after the shooting.
The father confirmed the assessment of his son’s condition to NBC News.
The father lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he was in transit to see his son in the hospital.
“I want to put my hand on my son’s cheek and kiss him on his forehead, and then I’ll be OK,” he told the Sun-Times. “I’ll kiss him with my mask. The first thing I want to do is touch my son.”
The family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, also said on Tuesday that Blake is “currently paralyzed from the waist down.”
“Praying it’s not permanent,” Crump tweeted.
The shooting, which has sparked protests in Kenosha and other cities, was videotaped by a bystander and posted on social media.
Kenosha police have released few details beyond saying that officers were responding to a domestic incident at 5:11 p.m. on Sunday and were involved in a shooting.
Police have referred requests for comment to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which is conducting an investigation.
“As with all investigations we conduct, we will unwaveringly pursue justice in this case,” state Attorney General Josh Kaul said in a statement Monday.
The Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office will decide whether to file charges, as is customary, Kaul’s statement said, adding that the police officers involved had been placed on administrative leave.
The mayor of Kenosha, a city of about 100,000 midway between Chicago and Milwaukee, said Monday that there was no body camera video of the shooting and that he wasn’t sure whether a dash camera recorded it.
The bystander who recorded the video posted on social media, Raysean White, 22, said the incident first caught his attention when he heard a group of women arguing across the street from his apartment.
“Then the guy that got shot showed up,” White said in an interview. “He pulled up in his truck, got out his truck, seen him walk up. His son was running towards him. He was picking up his son. He told his son to get in the gray truck, we about to go.”
Minutes later, White said, he looked out his window again to see “police out there wrestling” with the man, who was later identified as Blake, behind the vehicle. White said he saw a female officer fire a stun gun at Blake. White said he then started to record the incident, some of which is obscured by the vehicle. It is unclear what exactly happened before the video starts.
“They were also yelling, ‘Drop the knife,'” White said. “I didn’t see any weapons in his hands. He wasn’t being violent.”
The video shows Blake walking in front of the vehicle to try to get into the driver’s seat.
It is at this point that shots are fired.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said Monday that he had seen no information to suggest that Blake had a knife or other weapon, but that “this is undergoing a thorough investigation” by the state Justice Department, according to The Associated Press.
The police shooting of Blake occurred three months after George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody, which sparked protests around the country and across the world.