Jacob Blake: Father ‘refuses to play politics’ as Trump visits Kenosha

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Jacob Blake

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Jacob Blake’s father said his son was “holding on for dear life” after he was shot by a police officer

The father of Jacob Blake, a black man shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has refused to “play politics with my son’s life” when President Donald Trump visits the city later.

Jacob Blake Sr’s son was paralysed after being shot by an officer and it is not clear if he will walk again.

The shooting sparked sometimes violent protests in Kenosha and in other US cities.

On Tuesday Mr Trump will meet officers at protest sites in Kenosha.

Ahead of the trip, President Trump told a news conference he would not meet Mr Blake’s family because they wanted lawyers to be present.

In an interview with CNN, Mr Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr, said his son’s life was more important than a meeting with President Trump.

“I’m not getting into politics. It’s all about my son, man. It has nothing to do with a photo op,” he said.

Local officials have urged Mr Trump to not visit Kenosha, fearing his presence in the city may reignite protests that calmed down in recent days.

But Mr Trump has rejected their pleas, accusing Democratic mayors and governors of failing to get a handle on the violence. President Trump has made law and order a key part of his bid to a win a second term in the 3 November presidential election.

The year has seen widespread protests against racism and police brutality over the death in police custody in May of another black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

What did Blake’s father say?

“This is not politics. This is about the life of my son,” Mr Blake Sr told CNN of Mr Trump’s trip to Kenosha.

Mr Blake Sr said his son was still paralysed from the waist down, “holding on for dear life”.

His 29-year-old son was shot several times in the back by a police officer as he entered a car where his three children were seated.

“We are dealing with an individual that a couple of weeks ago was running around with the boys and talking to me on the phone and laughing to an individual that cannot move his leg,” Mr Blake Sr said.

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Media captionJacob Blake’s sister: ‘I have been watching police murder people that look like me for years’

The officer involved in the shooting on 23 August, named as Rusten Sheskey, has been placed on administrative leave while an investigation takes place.

Mr Blake Sr said, since his son’s shooting, he had “received some threats”.

Asked how his family was coping, Mr Blake Sr said he had had to take his other son, 20, to hospital because he was depressed.

The father gave no further details but added: “It’s sad to me how people don’t understand the kind of pressure this family is under.”

Why is Trump’s Kenosha visit controversial?

Local leaders have objected to Mr Trump’s visit, fearing it may stoke tensions further.

The governor of the state, Democrat Tony Evers, has urged Mr Trump to reconsider, warning his presence will “hinder our healing” and arguing that the citizens of the town are already traumatised.

“I, along with other community leaders who have reached out, are concerned about what your presence will mean for Kenosha and our state,” Mr Evers wrote in a letter to Mr Trump.

The White House said the president was expected to meet with law enforcement and tour “property affected by recent riots”.

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Media captionTwo people were killed and one injured on the third night of unrest

Mr Trump has also defended a teenage supporter accused of fatally shooting two men amid demonstrations over Mr Blake’s shooting in Kenosha last week.

  • Who is US teen accused of Wisconsin protest murders?

He suggested the teen, Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was acting in self-defence, telling reporters: “I guess he was in very big trouble, he probably would have been killed.”

What happened in Portland?

Portland, Oregon, has also become a major flashpoint for demonstrations since the killing of Mr Floyd, with left-wing protesters regularly facing off with police for the past three months.

On Saturday night, right-wing activist Aaron “Jay” Danielson, 39, was shot dead in the city after he was seen going to protect a caravan of Trump supporters, the Associated Press reports.

Clashes were reported between Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters.

  • Trump’s crackdown on Portland protests explained

The founder of a right-wing group, Patriot Prayer, identified Mr Danielson as a supporter.

Mr Trump tweeted: “Rest in peace Jay!”

Media reports say a man who calls himself an anti-fascist is being investigated over Saturday’s deadly shooting,