Family of Jacob Blake to lead Kenosha rally against police violence

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Family of Jacob Blake to lead Kenosha rally against police violence

Family of Jacob Blake, a black man who was paralyzed after a Kenosha police officer shot him in the back multiple times, is leading a march and rally Saturday to call for an end to police violence.

Event organizers said the demonstration would include a march to the Kenosha County Courthouse and speeches by members of Jacob Blake’s family, Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, U.S. Representative Gwen Moore and other community leaders.

We are heartbroken and enraged, but we are steadfast in our demand for justice, Tanya McLean, a Jacob Blake family friend who helped organize the event, said in a statement. She said Blake’s shooting is not an isolated incident, but part of a brutal, racist system.

We’re here to demand an end to police violence and systemic racism in Kenosha, McLean said.

No more piecemeal reforms and useless committees. No more Band-Aid solutions over the bullet wounds. The time for transformational change is now.

Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey was responding to a domestic abuse call on Sunday when he shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back. Blake is paralyzed from the shooting, his family said, and is recovering in a Milwaukee hospital.

The shooting, which was captured on cellphone video, sparked new protests against racial injustice and police brutality, just three months after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police touched off a wider reckoning on race.

Protesters have filled Kenosha’s streets every night, and on Tuesday, two people were killed by an armed civilian. The commander of the National Guard said Friday that more than 1,000 Guards had been deployed to help keep the peace, and more were on the way.

Investigators have said little about what led to Blake’s shooting. The Kenosha police union said Jacob Blake had a knife and fought with officers, putting one of them in a headlock as two efforts to stun him with a taser were unsuccessful. State investigators have said only that officers saw a knife on the floor of the car.

The footage recorded by a bystander, Jacob Blake walks from the pavement around the front of an SUV to his driver-side door as officers follow him with their guns drawn and shout at him.

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