Basketball star LeBron James has demanded justice for Jacob Blake, a Black man from Wisconsin who was shot ‘eight times’ by police.
The 29-year-old, a father-of-six, was shot multiple times in front of his children in Kenosha County on Sunday, August 23, after ‘helping to de-escalate a domestic incident’. He was airlifted to a Milwaukee hospital, later undergoing surgery – however, his father says he’s been left with ‘eight holes’ and paralysed from the waist down.
However, the shooting prompted a furious outcry, not just from Wisconsin residents, but from all over the world – James is just the latest high-profile figure to join the calls.
Sharing the bystander footage of the incident on Twitter, the Los Angeles Lakers player wrote, ‘And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!! Someone please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted. This shit is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE.’
Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell also shared the video, writing, ‘THIS IS SICK AND IS A REAL PROBLEM WE DEMAND JUSTICE! ITS CRAZY I DONT HAVE ANY WORDS BUT WTF MAN! THIS IS WHY WE DONT FEEL SAFE!!!!’
The Wisconsin National Guard has since been deployed to Kenosha amid protests over the shooting – not just to aid local police, but to support ‘the needs of local first responders to protect critical infrastructure, such as utilities and fire stations, and to ensure Kenoshians are able to assemble safely’.
In a statement, Governor Tony Evers wrote, ‘We must rise to this movement and this moment and meet it with our empathy, our humanity and a fierce commitment to disrupt the cycle of systemic racism and bias that devastates Black families and communities.’
However, while condemning the shooting, he’s also faced criticism from Pete Deates, head of Kenosha’s police union, who described his statement as ‘wholly irresponsible’, as reported by BBC News.
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden also called for a ‘full and transparent investigation of the shooting’. Yesterday, August 24, he wrote: ‘The nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force. These shots pierce the soul of our nation.’
As per the MailOnline, Whitney Cabal, a leader of Kenosha’s Black Lives Matter chapter, said:
This city is not going to stop burning itself down until [protesters] know that this officer has been fired. There was no reason for seven shots to be fired into this man’s back while he had three kids in the car.
Prominent civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who represents the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and now Blake, said the officers’ ‘irresponsible, reckless and inhumane actions nearly cost the life of a man who was simply trying to do the right thing’.
If you’d like to support Jacob Blake and his family’s fight for justice, click here for a list of resources, including petitions and fundraisers.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
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