A GoFundMe set for Jacob Blake a day after he was shot by police in Wisconsin has so far raised over $1 million, surpassing its initial $250,000 goal. Blake, 29, was shot in the back several times on Sunday evening as he made his way to his SUV after police officers responded to a domestic violence incident in his Kenosha neighborhood.
According to the family attorney, Ben Crump, Blake was trying to deescalate the incident before the police arrived and walked to his car to check on his children. His children, aged 3, 5 and 8, were in the SUV and witnessed the shooting which left their father critically injured. He was airlifted to the Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee for surgery where he is currently recovering.
As donations continued to unabatedly pour in on Tuesday, the target was increased to $1 million, and then later to $2 million. The fundraiser, which was reportedly organized by Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, is to help raise funds to cover his medical expenses as well as mental and grief counseling for the family and to also assist them “in the days to come” as they “continue to seek justice for Jacob.”
“A portion of these proceeds will also be used to benefit my son’s six children, some of whom witnessed this horrific act of violence,” the fundraiser adds.
Meanwhile, Blake’s father and Crump said the incident has left him paralyzed from the waist down. Speaking to The Chicago Sun-Times, Jacob Blake Snr said his son has “eight holes” in his body and doctors are yet to determine if his paralysis is permanent.
“What justified all those shots?” he asked. “What justified doing that in front of my grandsons? What are we doing?”
While undergoing surgery on Tuesday, Crump also said it’s “going to take a miracle” for Blake to be able to walk again.
“The medical diagnosis right now is that he is paralyzed and 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,” he said, CBS reports. “He is currently in surgery as we speak, still struggling to sustain his life and to hopefully become some resemblance of the man he once was.”
Blake’s shooting ignited demonstrations in the city as protesters defied curfew and hit the streets for the third night in a row, with some clashing with the police. Tuesday night’s protests reportedly left two people fatally shot and another injured.
Blake’s mother has, however, decried the ongoing unrest and called for calm.
“We really just need prayers,” she said. “As I was riding through here, the city, I noticed a lot of damage. It doesn’t reflect my son or my family. If Jacob knew what was going on as far as that goes – the violence and the destruction – he would be very unpleased.”
Family condemn shooting
During Tuesday’s press conference, members of Blake’s family condemned the officers’ actions and called for justice.
“So many people have reached out to me, telling me they’re sorry that this happened to my family,” his sister said. “Well don’t be sorry, because this has been happening to my family for a long time — longer than I can account for. It happened to Emmett Till. Emmett Till is my family. Philando (Castille), Mike Brown, Sandra (Bland) — this has been happening to my family, and I’ve shed tears for every single one of these people that it’s happened to.”
Crump has also called for the officer who fired the shots at Blake to be arrested as well as the other officers “who violated the policies and their training to be terminated immediately,” CNN reports.
“People question why we have to say ‘Black Lives Matter’ — this is why. Because Julia and Jacob Sr.’s son was not treated with the humanity that we often give our white brothers and sisters. And it has to stop, and it has to stop at the highest levels of our government,” Crump said. “We cannot turn a blind eye to the deliberate indifference.”
Following the shooting, two of the officers involved have been placed on leave pending investigations. The Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation has also taken over the case upon request from Kenosha police. Investigators are looking into whether charges should be filed against the officers involved. The FBI and the US Justice Department are also reviewing the case to determine if it warrants a federal civil rights investigation, according to CNN.