KENOSHA | The mother of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old African-American seriously injured in police fire and possibly paralyzed for life, called for calm on Tuesday amid fears of further tense protests across the United States.
“My son is fighting for his life”, said, moved, Julia Jackson, mother of the victim, during a press conference.
“If Jacob knew what was going on, the violence and the destruction, he would be very unhappy (…) We need to heal,” she added as her son was in the operating room again.
As with George Floyd, a black forty-something who died of suffocation below the knee of a white police officer three months ago, Jacob Blake’s arrest attempt was filmed by a witness Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The footage shows the young African American being followed by two policemen with their guns drawn as he walks around a car.
An officer grabs his white tank top as he opens the door and tries to get into the driver’s seat. The police officer then fires – the recording suggests seven shots – hitting this father with several bullets in the back.
“The medical diagnosis at the moment is that he is paralyzed,” Mr. Blake’s family lawyer Ben Crump said.
He suffered “serious bodily injuries, including a section of the spinal cord”, his kidneys and liver were damaged and his injuries required “the removal of part of the intestine,” said the lawyer. Patrick Salvi, also on the file.
Jacob Blake’s family will file a civil complaint, he said.
The lawyers also announced that they would go to Washington on Friday to join a vast march against police violence organized on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous speech “I have a dream”. .
” No justice, no peace ”
Kenosha, Minneapolis, New York or Portland, several American cities have become in the last two days the scene of sometimes violent gatherings, thousands of people demanding that justice be done for Jacob Blake.
On the night of Monday to Tuesday, the demonstrators chanted the same slogan as after the death of George Floyd, three months ago to the day: “No justice, no peace”.
“If I killed someone, I would be condemned and treated like a murderer. I think it should be the same for the police, “Sherese Lott, 37, told AFP on Monday evening to express her anger in Kenosha, a town of 170,000 inhabitants on the shores of Lake Michigan.
The 1,000 demonstrators gathered in front of a city court first marched peacefully. But an hour after the entry into force of a curfew, clashes broke out with the police.
Protesters threw bottles and fireworks at police officers, set cars and a building on fire. They were targeted by tear gas capsules and projectiles fired by the police, AFP noted.
Iron gates had been installed Tuesday on the scene to prevent overflows the day before.
“What we have seen these last two nights and many evenings this year is the expression of the pain, the anguish and the exhaustion to be black in our state and our country”, estimated Tuesday the democratic governor of the Wisconsin Tony Evers.
He reiterated his calls for peaceful protests and announced that additional National Guard soldiers would be sent to the scene as reinforcements.
In Minneapolis, the city where George Floyd died on May 25 and the start of the historic anti-racism movement, protesters burned an American flag.
About 200 people marched in New York. In Portland, where marches have been held almost daily since the death of George Floyd, protesters chanted the name of Jacob Blake.
Ben Crump, the lawyer for Jacob Blake’s family, said that the latter’s three sons were in the car at the time of the tragedy, and that the young man had tried to intervene in an argument between two women.
The two police officers involved were suspended from their duties and an investigation was opened.
President Donald Trump has not yet spoken on the subject. Joe Biden, his Democratic opponent in the November presidential election, for his part assured that racism was “a public health crisis” and demanded a thorough and transparent investigation.