The mother of a US black man left paralysed after being shot multiple times by police has called for “healing”, pleading with authorities to “examine your hearts”.
Jacob Blake, 29, was shot in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday while trying to break up a fight between two women.
The shooting has sparked two nights of angry protests in the city, with more than 30 businesses destroyed on Monday.
Wisconsin’s governor Tony Evers has declared a state of emergency, saying 250 members of the state’s National Guard will be active in Kenosha.
Mr Blake’s mother Julia Jackson said her son would be “very unpleased” if he could see the violence that had befallen the city since he was shot.
She added: “I’m really asking and encouraging everyone in Wisconsin and abroad to take a moment and examine your heart – citizens, police officers, firemen, clergy, politicians – do Jacob justice on this level and examine your heart.
“We need healing. As I pray for my son, healing physically, emotionally and spiritually, I also have been praying even before this for healing of our country.”
Mr Blake’s father, also named Jacob, said: “They shot my son seven times, seven times, like he didn’t matter. But my son matters. He’s a human being and he matters.”
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Ben Crump, a lawyer for the family, said Mr Blake has been paralysed after bullets shattered his vertebrae and severed his spinal cord, adding that it would “take a miracle” for him to walk again.
Raysean White, who said he recorded the incident on his phone, said he saw Mr Blake scuffling with three officers before they yelled: “Drop the knife, drop the knife”.
Mr White said he did not see a knife in Mr Blake’s hands.
Mr Blake then walked around the front of his SUV to the driver’s door, officers following him with guns drawn as they shouted.
The footage showed Mr Blake open the door and lean into the vehicle while three of his children reportedly sat inside.
An officer grabbed his shirt from behind and opened fire. Seven shots were heard but it is not clear how many struck Mr Blake or how many officers fired.
Mr Blake’s family is preparing to file a civil lawsuit against the police department over the shooting.
Police have said little about what happened other than that they were responding to a domestic dispute, but the shooting of Mr Blake is the latest example of police violence against black people in the US.
It comes three months after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Mr Floyd died after a police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes.