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Jacob Blake's family speaks about police shooting: 'He was not treated like a human'

The sister of the man shot in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, said he was "treated like some foreign object that didn't belong."
/ Source: TODAY

The sister of the Black man shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, said her brother was "not treated like a human" by authorities as her family pleaded for peaceful protests on Tuesday.

The appeal from the family of Jacob Blake, 29, came before two people were shot and killed and another was injured by gunfire shortly before midnight on the third day of protests, according to Kenosha police.

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Blake's family, along with attorney Benjamin Crump, spoke to the media outside the Kenosha County Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon. Crump said Blake has been left paralyzed from the waist down by the shooting, with his spinal cord partially severed and several vertebrae shattered.

Blake's sister, Zietha Blake, expressed her anguish over her brother's shooting.

"He was not treated like a human that day," Blake's sister said. "He was treated like some foreign object that didn't belong."

The incident was captured on video by witness Raysean White, 22. An eyewitness told NBC News he heard officers yell “drop the knife”, but police haven’t said if they recovered a weapon.

Crump said in a statement that Blake was helping to deescalate a domestic incident and when he went to check on his three children in the car, police shot him in the back.

The only information released by police in Kenosha, a city halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee, has been that officers responded to a domestic incident at 5:11 p.m. on Sunday and "were involved in an officer-involved shooting."

Julia Jackson speaks during the press conference in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse in Wisconsin on Tuesday.
Julia Jackson speaks during the press conference in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse in Wisconsin on Tuesday. Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The family is demanding that the officers shown on the video be fired and the one who shot him be arrested. The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave and the Kenosha County District Attorney's Office will decide whether to file charges, according to a statement by Attorney General Josh Kaul on Monday.

Blake's father, Jacob Blake Sr., held back tears on Tuesday as he spoke about the shooting.

“They shot my son seven times. Seven times. Like he didn’t matter,” he said. “But my son matters. He is a human being, and he matters.”

After the second day of protests, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers declared a state of emergency early Tuesday and committed to doubling the number of National Guard troops in the city to 250.

Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, gave an impassioned plea for justice for her son but also for the violence in Kenosha to stop.

“As I was riding here in this city I noticed a lot of damage. It doesn’t reflect my son or my family. If Jacob knew what was going on as far as that goes, the violence and destruction, he would be very unpleased,” she said.

She encouraged everyone to “examine your hearts” amid the civil unrest.

“We need healing. As I pray for my son's healing, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I also have been praying even before this for the healing of our country,” she said.

Police have referred requests for comment to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which is conducting a probe of the incident.

"The Wisconsin Department of Justice is vigorously and thoroughly investigating yesterday's officer-involved shooting in Kenosha. As with all investigations we conduct, we will unwaveringly pursue justice in this case," Kaul said in a statement Monday.