The family of Jacob Blake, a Black man shot in the back by police officers in the US state of Wisconsin on Sunday, say he is unlikely to ever walk again.
The shooting, captured by mobile phone footage, has sparked demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice around the country, just months after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Here’s what you need to know.
Blake, 29, was shot as many as seven times by police in the city of Kenosha around 5pm on Sunday.
He was admitted to hospital in Milwaukee, where he underwent surgery for his wounds.
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Blake’s family, said bullets tore his spinal cord and crushed his vertebrae.
Surgeons were also forced to remove much of Blake’s small intestine, Crump told reporters.
Doctors say Blake is currently paralysed from the waist down, and are unsure if the damage will be permanent.
“His family believe in miracles, but the medical diagnosis right now is that he is paralysed, ” Crump said.
“Because those bullets severed his spinal cord and shattered some of his vertebrae, it is going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr to ever walk again.”
What does the footage show?
Mobile phone footage of the incident shows an SUV parked by the side of a residential street.
Blake can be seen walking around the front of the car towards the driver’s side door. He is followed by two White police officers. One has their gun drawn.
Bystanders can be heard screaming as Blake opens the door. One officer tugs on the back of his singlet as Blake reaches into the car. His gun is pointed at Blake’s back.
Seven gunshots can be heard.
It was later revealed that his three children were in the car at the time of the shooting.
Raysean White, who witnessed the incident and captured the footage, said told CNN he observed officers wrestle and Taser Blake in the moments before he started filming.
White said he heard officers yelling “Drop the knife.” White says he didn’t see a knife in Blake’s hands during the incident.
Crump said Blake was “breaking up a fight between two women” moments before the shooting.
What do police say?
In a statement, the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) said police were called in response to a “domestic incident”.
But law enforcement officials have not outlined the circumstances which led to the shooting.
The DCI said officers immediately supplied medical aid, and organised Blake’s transport to hospital, where he was admitted in a serious condition.
An investigation is ongoing. That evidence will be turned over to the state prosecutor, who will then decide if criminal charges are in order.
The DCI did not release the names of the officers involved in the shooting.
A black person shouldn’t have to be perfect or extraordinary or a college grad or a parent in order to explain why they deserved to not be shot by a police officer. This is a simple concept.— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) August 24, 2020
What has the response been?
Facing the media on Tuesday, Blake’s family expressed their sorrow over the shooting.
“He shot my son seven times,” Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr, said. “Seven times. Like he didn’t matter, but my son matters.”
News of the shooting sparked peaceful protests in Kenosha as residents expressed their despair at the sight of another Black man being shot by police.
But fires and looting have been reported, and the Kenosha Police Department has declared an 8pm curfew for several nights in a row.
⚠️CIVIL UNREST ADVISORY⚠️— Kenosha Police Dept. (@KenoshaPolice) August 26, 2020
Kenosha County has declared a State of Emergency curfew for 8PM tonight, August 25th. Citizens need to be off the streets for their safety. Curfew will be enforced.
Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, said unlawful demonstrations don’t reflect her son’s values.
“I noticed a lot of damage, that doesn’t reflect my son, or my family,” she said.
“If Jacob knew what was going on as far as that goes, the violence and the destruction, he would be very unpleased.”
His family has called for the officers involved to be fired and face criminal charges, and Crump has signalled he will file a lawsuit.
The Washington Post reports demonstrations have spread to Wisconsin state capital Madison, as well as Seattle, Atlanta, Portland, and Minneapolis, where George Floyd lost his life under the knee of a police officer.
News of Blake’s shooting prompted a solemn response from NBA superstar and police reform advocate LeBron James, who said Americans are “lying” if they couldn’t see another way to deescalate the situation shown in the footage.
“Why does it always have to get to a point where we see the guns firing?” he asked.
"We are scared as Black people in America."— CNN (@CNN) August 25, 2020
LeBron James calls for justice following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin and encourages people to vote for change in November's election. https://t.co/BJBsC8QW4A pic.twitter.com/CpAp9rmEZF
The Toronto Raptors’ Fred VanVleet echoed his sentiments, saying, “We can’t underestimate the trauma that we take in on a daily basis from our phones and watching these videos, watching a guy get shot in front of his entire family.”
Fred VanVleet took no basketball questions and only spoke about Jacob Blake. He was incredibly thoughtful and visibly emotional – so I simply asked him how he’s doing. pic.twitter.com/9gSaFf4Bc4— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) August 25, 2020
Members of the Detroit Lions NFL squad also cancelled a scheduled practice session in response to the shooting.
“We Won’t Be Silent!!” message from Lions players pic.twitter.com/8jgCQBwgQh— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) August 25, 2020
What can Australians do?
While the shooting occurred half a world away, there are several methods for Australians to show solidarity with the Blake family.
The ‘Justice for Jacob Blake’ GoFundMe organised by Jackson has raised US$1.32 million (AU$1.8 million). Wisconsin newspaper The Journal Times said a GoFundMe representative confirmed the fundraiser was verified by Crump.
Other organisations are raising money for bail funds to assist protestors who may be detained during peaceful demonstrations.
Our comrades at Milwaukee Freedom Fund are providing support to protesters in Kenosha pic.twitter.com/87nHhKNyvO— National Bail Fund Network (@bailfundnetwork) August 24, 2020
A Change.org petition calling for prosecutors to bring charges against the police officers involved has already amassed half a million signatures.
Closer to home, there are many local organisations calling for an end to Indigenous deaths in custody, providing legal aid to at-risk Australians, and offering health services. You can scope them out here.