Mother of Black US man left paralyzed in police shooting calls for calm

The mother of a Black man shot repeatedly in the back by Wisconsin police called Tuesday, August 25, for calm after two nights of violent protests, as her lawyer said it would take a "miracle" for her son to walk again.

"We really just need prayers," Julia Jackson said of her son Jacob Blake, seen in video being shot up to 7 times at point-blank range by a white Kenosha Wisconsin police officer as he tried to get into his car with his 3 children inside on Sunday.

With hundreds of people marching again Tuesday – and at least one small group of mainly white, heavily armed men vowing to protect property – her call for healing took on greater urgency.

The most recent police shooting of an African American has sparked outrage and protests in US cities including New York and Minneapolis.

The rallies have been largely peaceful though some protesters burned cars and buildings on Sunday and Monday nights in the northern city. 

Jackson was visibly emotional as she urged peace ahead of a national protest against police brutality planned for Washington this weekend, where Blake's shooting, the killing of George Floyd 3 months ago, and other deaths have mobilized the powerful Black Lives Matter movement.

The damage caused on previous nights "doesn't reflect my son or my family," she said.

Then she issued a powerful call for unity and denunciation of racism in America.

"Clearly you can see by now that I have beautiful brown skin. But take a look at your hand. And whatever shade it is, it is beautiful as well," she said.

"God did not make one type of tree, or flower, or fish, or horse, or grass, or rock. How dare you ask him to make one type of human that looks just like you?"

Lawyers for the family said one of the policeman's bullets shattered Blake's spine and others damaged his stomach, colon, liver, and an arm.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said he was paralyzed.

"It is going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr to ever walk again," he said.

'Attempted murder'

Blake's mother said she was praying for police. But his father Jacob Sr. accused law enforcement, who remain quiet about the incident, of "senseless attempted murder." 

"They shot my son 7 times, like he didn't matter," Blake said, struggling to hold back tears. "But my son matters. He's a human being."

Jacob Blake's sister Letetra Widman added: "I'm not sad. I don't want your pity. I want change."

Blake, 29, was shot after trying to break up a domestic dispute, according to Crump.

A bystander video shows a police officer shooting 7 times at Blake while the officer tugged on his shirt as he tried to get into the car.

The children, Crump predicted, would have "psychological problems for the rest of their life." 

One, aged 8, had been celebrating his birthday, Crump continued, adding: "Can you imagine what...(he) is going to think about every time he has a birthday?"

Officials say police had been called to a domestic disturbance, but have not said why the two officers had their guns pulled.

Crump, who represents the families of Floyd and other Blacks unjustifiably shot and killed, demanded the two officers involved, currently suspended, be fired and charged.

"For Black America, this is our reality," he said.

He pointed to another shooting last week. 

Police in Lafayette, Louisiana are being accused of excessive force after firing nearly a dozen rounds into Trayford Pellerin, 31, who was carrying a knife and walking towards a convenience store on August 21.

'Sickened'

Expecting another night of demonstrations, on Tuesday Kenosha authorities installed a temporary iron fence in front of the county courthouse, scene of confrontations between police and protesters the last two nights.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers urged protestors to remain peaceful as he called up more national guard troops ahead of an expected third night of protests.

"We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue," he said in a statement.

"We also cannot continue going down this path of damage and destruction."

In one parking lot a small group of mainly white, armed men calling themselves the "Armed Citizens To Protect Our Lives And Property" said they were there to protect buildings from more damage Tuesday.

Former Kenosha alderman Kevin Mathewson, with a handgun on his hip and an AR-15 assault rifle strapped across his body, said the shooting of Blake "sickened" him – but that he wanted to defend his community.

"Some do not realize by burning a building you are risking the lives of first responders and anyone who may be inside," he said, adding that he was armed to protect himself from others with guns. – Rappler.com