Jacob Blake is paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by police multiple times and doctors don't know if the injury is permanent, according to the man's father.
The dad, who is also named Jacob Blake, spoke briefly to reporters Tuesday afternoon after arriving in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where his son lives. The elder Blake first led a Muslim prayer in Arabic, then tearfully said, "My son matters. He's a human being and he matters."
In an earlier interview, the father asked why his son was shot multiple times. "What justified doing that in front of my grandsons? What are we doing?" he told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Blake, 29 was shot several times times on Sunday, his father said. Video of the shooting immediately went viral on social media, prompting two days of demonstrations in the city on the banks of Lake Michigan.
"I want to put my hand on my son’s cheek and kiss him on his forehead, and then I’ll be OK," his father said. "I’ll kiss him with my mask. The first thing I want to do is touch my son."
Blake spoke with his dad Sunday morning and was planning to spend the day celebrating his son's eighth birthday. That evening, Blake's father received word of the shooting, and then he saw the video.
Some witnesses said Blake was trying to break up a fight when police arrived. Cellphone video of the incident appears to show Blake walking around and opening up his car door before being shot in the back by police.
Blake’s partner, Laquisha Booker, told WTMJ-TV that three of the couple’s children were in the back seat of the SUV when police shot him. "That man just literally grabbed him by his shirt and looked the other way and was just shooting him. With the kids in the back screaming. Screaming," Booker said.
Blake has six children, his father said, between the ages of 3 and 13.
"If you were in need of something and my son had it, he would not hesitate to give it to you," his father said. "He’s a very giving individual."
Blake was not armed, witnesses said. State officials are investigating the incident, along with police.
"Those police officers that shot my son like a dog in the street are responsible for everything that has happened in the city of Kenosha," his father said. "My son is not responsible for it. My son didn’t have a weapon. He didn’t have a gun."