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Jacob Blake Paralyzed After Being Shot In The Back By The Police


Jacob Blake's life matters. That was the message today from the family and lawyers of the Black man who was shot at least seven times in the back by a Kenosha, Wis., police officer on Sunday. LaToya Dennis of member station WUWM was at the press conference where members of Jacob Blake's family spoke, and she's with us now. Hey, LaToya.


KELLY: Tell us how he's doing. What do we know about Blake's condition?

DENNIS: Yeah, what we know at this point is that he's paralyzed from the waist down, and doctors are not yet sure as to whether that's permanent. He has injuries to his spinal cord, he has injuries to his vertebrae, he has bullet holes in his stomach, part of his colon has been removed, he has kidney and liver damage, and he was also shot in the arm. Today, he was rushed into surgery, and this was just another surgery, basically. There are so many that he's expected to need in the future. And because of that, doctors are also worried about bacterial meningitis.

KELLY: What more are we learning about what actually happened on Sunday? There's this video. It's being widely shared. It shows a police officer who follows Blake around a vehicle and then shoots him in the back. But there's so much we still don't know. What questions are still out there?

DENNIS: I mean, I think you're right about that. There is so much we still don't know. We don't know what happened between Blake and the police officers before that video started, right? Blake was said to be there. He was breaking up a verbal altercation between two women. And we don't know what happened after that, outside of police arriving. We saw Blake walking around his vehicle trying to get into his vehicle. There have been rumors that he was armed. Although that's not seen in the video, we don't know. So those questions do remain.

KELLY: Kenosha has seen protests since the shooting on Sunday. Blake's mother has been calling for those protests to stay peaceful. What are demonstrators saying that they want?

DENNIS: Demonstrators are saying that they want real police reform. And not only do they want police reform, they want the officer or officers involved in this shooting fired immediately. They want charges filed immediately. And not only do they want charges filed, they want the officer or officers involved convicted. And they say that until that happens, you're going to see this repeated time and time again.


JULIA JACKSON: Do Jacob justice on this level and examine your hearts. We need healing.

KELLY: That was Blake's mother speaking there, LaToya.

DENNIS: Yeah, that was his mother, Julia Jackson. And she just basically said that everyone, whether you're white, whether you're Black, whether you're a police officer, whomever you are, she wants you to reexamine your heart because she says we're not hearing each other, and we're all human and we need to be treated as humans.

KELLY: LaToya Dennis from member station WUWM reporting there. Thank you.

DENNIS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

LaToya Dennis
LaToya Dennis joined WUWM in October 2006 as a reporter / producer. LaToya began her career in public radio as a part-time reporter for WKAR AM/FM in East Lansing, Michigan. She worked as general assignment reporter for WKAR for one and a half years while working toward a master's degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. While at WKAR, she covered General Motors plant closings, city and state government, and education among other critical subjects.