Celebrities and athletes voiced their collective frustration and anger over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was shot multiple times from behind by Wisconsin police on Sunday and who is now paralyzed from the waist down.
The shooting in Kenosha, Wisc., which was caught on video, reignited national outrage over police brutality and the mistreatment of Black people as racial tensions continue to run high following the May killing of George Floyd.
New details continue to emerge. But on Monday, Ben Crump, the civil rights and personal injury attorney representing the families of Floyd and Breonna Taylor, said that Blake “was helping deescalate a domestic incident when police drew their weapons and tasered him.”
“As he was walking away to check on his children, police fired their weapons several times into his back at point blank range,” Crump’s firm said in a statement released on Twitter. Crump confirmed Tuesday that Blake was paralyzed from the waist down and is “praying it’s not permanent.”
Kenosha police did not immediately disclose the race of the three officers at the scene or say whether Blake was armed or why police opened fire, and they released no details on the domestic dispute, according to the Associated Press. The officers were placed on administrative leave, which is standard practice in a shooting by police.
After the footage went public, advocates decried the shooting on social media. Many shared pictures of Blake with his young sons. Others were grateful that Blake made it through alive, although severely injured.
Protests erupted in Wisconsin over the past two nights as police clad in riot gear clashed with protesters. Social justice activists described the Blake shooting as another instance of white supremacy at play in law enforcement.
“Wow this is SICKENING ! I can’t believe it ! What’s going to be the excuse now ?” “WAP” rapper Cardi B wrote on Instagram, sharing a video a graphic clip of the shooting. “They just don’t give a ... nomore ! SOMETHING MUST HAPPEN !Yooo this is insane they really not giving a ... anymore.Lord please!”
Lakers star LeBron James saw the video for the first time on Monday and it made him feel angry, fearful and hurt, he said. He and teammates Kyle Kuzma and Anthony Davis spoke passionately about the shooting — and the relationship between Black people in America and police following the Lakers’ Game 4 victory over Portland.
“It’s just, it’s just — quite frankly, it’s just [expletive] up in our community,” James said. “And I know people get tired of hearing me say it, but we are scared as Black people in America. Black men, Black women, Black kids, we are terrified. Because you don’t know.”
After a playoff win, Oklahoma City Thunder star and former Clippers player Chris Paul also sent thoughts and prayers to the Blake family in a televised post-game interview.
“We said we’re going to speak on the social injustice and the things that continue to happen to our people,” Paul said. “It’s not right. It’s not right. So the win is good, but voting is real. I’m going to challenge all my NBA guys, other sports guys: Let’s try to get our entire teams registered to vote. There’s a lot of stuff going on in the country. You know, sports — it’s cool, it’s good and well, that’s how we take care of our families — but those are the real issues that we’ve got to start addressing.”
The Detroit Lions canceled practice on Tuesday in response to the shooting. Football players held up signs in front of the team facility that read “The World Can’t Go On.”
Here’s a sampling of other reactions:
He was trying to break up a fight.
He wasn’t armed.
He was relieved police had arrived to handle the fight, so he went to get in his car and drive his children safely home.
They shot him seven times.
In the back.
In front of his children.
Say his name.
Jacob Blake.#blm— Aisha Tyler (@aishatyler) August 24, 2020
I’m very sad about #JacobBlake . I hope & pray his paralysis isn’t permanent. I’m scared and I am angry...for myself, for my children. This treatment is dehumanizing; it cannot continue. #DoBetter #BlackLivesMatter— Adina Porter (@AdinaPorter) August 25, 2020
Allyship isn’t a social media trend. Black people have been tirelessly fighting for centuries, and whatever little progress you thought we made recently carries no weight when you see what continues to happen to black people. #JacobBlake— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) August 24, 2020
The acts of brutal force against our Black brothers and sisters must end. Let us keep #JacobBlake and his family in our thoughts and prayers as we demand justice. #AllBlackLivesMatter— Hamilton (@HamiltonMusical) August 25, 2020
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I just have no words... I am closing my eyes and praying for this man and his family, I’m praying for his physical healing as well as the eventual healing for this trauma, grief, loss, and necessary rage, pain, and anger of his family and I’m praying for the collective healing of this country, of our Black brothers and sisters who have to live in a world that’s given them so much pain. We DEMAND a new world. We need change, we need these cops ARRESTED, and we need a sign that this government has enough empathy and cares enough about humanity to do something about it.
A post shared by camila (@camila_cabello) on Aug 24, 2020 at 8:20am PDT
Jacob Blake is paralyzed from the waist down.
The United States of America continues to dehumanize Black lives.
Racism & the multi-faceted trauma of slavery didn’t evaporate with a proclamation.
“America is not a racist country” is an impediment to Truth, Love and Justice.— Be A King (@BerniceKing) August 25, 2020
To be Black in racist America is to be armed and dangerous even when we are unarmed and walking away. This is the insanity of racist ideas. This is the cruelty of racist power and policies that protect police violence and not Black lives. #jacobblake pic.twitter.com/FYTSgCeGgo— Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram) August 25, 2020
White people are trying to “thuggify” #JacobBlake to justify police shooting him in the back 7 times.
It is typical white supremacist behavior.
By contrast, white mass murderers get portrayed as “troubled youth” who were victims of America’s failure to address mental health.— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) August 25, 2020
May Jacob Blake make a full recovery. May the cops who shot him in the back in front of his children face justice. May we all work to end police terror and racial violence in this country.— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 24, 2020
As Jacob Blake fights for his life today the Killers of Elijah McClain (who was killed a year ago today ) and Breonna Taylor have still not been arrested. these are murderers in uniform of innocent people ,arrest them— ✌