Jacob Blake is no longer shackled to his hospital bed, attorney says

National and World News

(CNN) — Handcuffs restraining Jacob Blake to a hospital bed have been removed, his attorney, Patrick Cafferty, told CNN Friday afternoon.

Additionally, the warrant law enforcement used to explain why Blake was shackled have been vacated, Cafferty said, and authorities are no longer guarding Blake at the hospital.

Blake, a Black Wisconsin resident, has been left paralyzed from the waist down after he was shot seven times in the back by a White police officer who tried to detain him this week in Kenosha.Family members had said the sight of him tethered to the bed at a hospital in Wauwatosa was heartbreaking.

“Why do they have that cold steel on my son’s ankle?” his father, Jacob Blake Sr. asked Friday morning in an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day.” “He can’t get up, he couldn’t get up if he wanted to.”

Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. David Wright explained earlier Friday that Blake was handcuffed to the bed because he “has felony warrants for his arrest from crimes he committed prior to the shooting incident.”

“Anyone with this classification level that we are guarding in the hospital would be treated in this manner,” Wright said in a statement.

In response to the statement from the sheriff’s office, Blake’s uncle, Justin Blake, told CNN, “It shows how little class and compassion the sheriff has.”

At the time of Sunday’s violent encounter with police, Blake had a warrant out for his arrest in connection to a domestic abuse call earlier this year.

A dispatcher appeared to warn responding officers about Blake’s warrant, referring to “family trouble” at the residence in Kenosha and an “alert at this address for a ninety-nine.” The police code 10-99 can refer to a wanted suspect.

It’s unclear whether those officers knew about why there was an outstanding warrant against Blake when they arrived at the residence.

On May 3, Blake unlawfully entered the home and sexually assaulted a woman in her bedroom before leaving with her vehicle, according to the criminal complaint obtained by CNN. She also waived a temporary restraining order against Blake.

CNN does not typically identify sexual assault victims.

The criminal complaint filed on July 6 listed charges of felony third-degree sexual assault and misdemeanor trespassing and disorderly conduct. The arrest warrant against Blake was filed the following day.

Earlier Friday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said he “couldn’t imagine” why Blake was handcuffed in the hospital after the shooting.

“I would have no personal understanding why that would be necessary,” Evers told reporters. “I would hope that we would be able to find a more, a better way to help him … in recovering. That seems counterintuitive. It seems to be bad medicine.”

The Froedtert Hospital, where Blake is being treated, deferred CNN’s questions to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Kenosha police and the district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“There is no explanation for it,” Blake family attorney Benjamin Crump said. “It follows the pattern of deliberate indifference and excessive force.”

“My son has not been afforded the rights of a human,” Jacob Blake Sr. said.

‘My son is fighting for his life’

A heavily medicated Jacob Blake clutched his father’s hand and wept after regaining consciousness.

“Why did they shoot me so many times?” he asked Jacob Blake Sr.

“Baby, they weren’t supposed to shoot you at all,” the father responded, recalling the exchange during an interview with CNN.

Blake’s children, ranging in age from 3 to 8 years, watched the shooting from inside a car their father was stepping into as the officer opened fire. The oldest boy, who was supposed to celebrate a birthday the day his father was shot, also has questions.

“Papa, why did they shoot my daddy in the back?” Jacob Blake Sr. recalled the boy asking him. “Where’s daddy?”

Jacob Blake Sr. said his son has recounted what happened in bits and pieces. Crump said Blake has had several surgeries and suffered severe injuries, including damage to his bowels and internal organs, bullet fragments in his spinal cord and a shattered vertebrae.

“My son is fighting for his life,” the eldest Blake said. “He’s holding on.”

Jacob Blake Sr. said his son touches his arms and strokes his face and tells his father he loves him. At one point, they discussed Blake’s paralysis and the younger man said he wanted a dog.

“We’ll get you a dog, baby,” the father responded.

Jacob Blake Sr. recalled a conversation he had this week with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris, comparing it “speaking to my uncle and one of my sisters.”

“They were so comforting that you almost forgot how the situation was really playing out,” he said, referring to Biden and Harris and calling them the president and the vice president.

He added, “President Biden kept telling me his own issues with his family. That he identifies with what I’m going through. I didn’t have to keep telling him. He knew. It felt like he knew. It felt like they knew what was going on. And they didn’t act like they were in a hurry to go anywhere. They spent time with us.”

Asked if President Donald Trump has tried to reach out to his family, Jacob Blake Sr. said, “That’s a negative.”

The eldest Blake, who recalled his father’s participation in the civil rights movement, expressed gratitude for the wave of protests among American athletes this week, from the National Basketball Association to the National Football League to Major League Baseball.

But he voiced opposition to violence and looting in the wake of police brutality and racism.

“That’s not going to make me son get up out of that bed and walk,” he said. “Only God could get him up out of the bed.”

A jersey signed by members of the Milwaukee Bucks brought a smile to his son’s face this week. But Jacob Blake Jr. has not spoken to his son about the unrest and violence on the streets of Kenosha or anything that could set back his recovery.

“No setbacks, baby,” he told his son this week. “No setbacks.”

“I got you, pops,” Blake said.

Investigators issue their first version of events

Bystanders captured the shooting on cellphone video and shared the footage widely on social media, turning the lakeside city of Kenosha into the scene of nightly protests against police brutality.

Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey fired into Blake’s back on Sunday while he was trying to enter a vehicle with his three children watching from the backseat.

“In his mind’s eye, he just wanted to get his sons out of harm’s way, but before he could get them out of the car he said he was just counting shots,” Blake’s father said. “He said he was counting them. I guess he lost consciousness around number four or five.”

On Friday the Kenosha Professional Police Association took issue with the public narrative presented in the Blake case. In a statement, the association noted there was a warrant for Blake’s arrest, that he put an officer in a headlock. Blake also had a knife, the statement said, and refused to drop it when ordered to by police.

Local officials have not discussed many details about Blake’s shooting but are addressing the nightly protests in Kenosha, especially after two people were killed and a third was injured. A 17-year-old was arrested Wednesday and is facing multiple charges murder charges in the shooting deaths and injuries.

On Wednesday, state investigators offered their first version of Sunday’s events — but with gaping holes in the timeline.

The incident started when a woman called police and said “her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises,” the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation said.

In a police call, a dispatcher names Blake and says he “isn’t supposed to be there” and that he took the complainant’s keys and refused to leave. The dispatcher later explains she doesn’t have more details because the caller was “uncooperative.”

About five minutes after the initial report, a dispatcher received reports of shots fired, police said.

Officers had attempted to arrest Blake and used a Taser in a failed attempt to stop him, the DCI said. He walked around his vehicle, “opened the driver’s side door and leaned forward,” the agency said.

Sheskey has been with the department for seven years. No other officer fired their weapon.

Blake admitted he had a knife in his possession, and law enforcement agents said they recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of his vehicle, the agency said.

State investigators did not indicate why police moved to arrest Blake, whether he brandished or threatened to use the knife, or why Sheskey shot so many times into Blake’s back. It does not mention his children in the vehicle or other family members standing just feet away.

Sheskey and another officer have been placed on administrative leave.

On Friday, the Wisconsin DOJ released a statement identifying two additional officers involved in the incident as Kenosha Police Officers Vincent Arenas and Brittany Meronek.

Arenas — who also used his Taser in an unsuccessful attempt to stop Blake, the statement says — has been with the Kenosha Police Department since February 2019, after previously serving with the US Capitol Police in Washington. Meronek joined the department in January, the statement said.

Videos of the incident show a struggle between Blake and police. He then walks around the front of an SUV and tries to enter the driver’s side door. An officer is seen pulling Blake’s tank top and seven shots are heard.

His attorneys told CNN that Blake did not have a weapon in the car.

“I can’t speak directly to what he owned, but what I can say is that his three children were in the car,” Patrick Salvi Jr. told CNN. “That was on the forefront of his mind. That is the most important thing to him in his life — his family and his children.”

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