Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old black man left paralyzed after he was shot by Kenosha, Wisconsin, police on Sunday, is no longer handcuffed to his Milwaukee hospital bed.
Patrick Cafferty, an attorney representing the Blake family, told WISN-TV on Friday that the felony arrest warrants which stem from alleged crimes that Blake committed before the shooting have been vacated and that deputies were no longer in his hospital room after he posted bond.
Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. David Wright said on Friday that Blake was handcuffed to his hospital bed because he ‘has felony warrants for his arrest from crimes he committed prior to the shooting incident.’
Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Investigator Scott Still said, ‘Mr. Blake posted the bond underlying the arrest warrant, enabling his release from custody. The hospital watch was discontinued immediately after receiving this information from Kenosha authorities.’
The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office told The Associated Press that all hospitalized patients in police custody are restrained unless undergoing medical procedures and that it’s working to ‘ensure a safe and humane environment for Mr. Blake.”
A reporter asked Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers about the handcuffs Thursday during a news conference.
‘The Sun-Times is reporting that Jacob Blake is handcuffed to his hospital bed. Does that concern you?’ the reporter asked.
‘Hell, yes. I would have no personal understanding why that would be necessary.
‘Certainly, he’s paid a horrific price already being shot seven or eight times in the back. I can’t imagine why that’s happening,’ Evers said.
At the time that police in Kenosha responded to a domestic disturbance call from Blake’s girlfriend on Sunday, there was an outstanding warrant for Blake’s arrest.
Blake was wanted in connection with a domestic abuse call from earlier this year.
He faces charges of third-degree assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct in connection to an alleged domestic abuse incident on July 6.
A woman Blake knew has alleged that Blake came into her house at about 6am, sexually assaulted her, and then took a debit card and car keys before fleeing in her vehicle, according to a criminal complaint.
In 2015, Blake was charged with a gun-related offense in Racine, Wisconsin, but it did not result in a conviction.
The officers who responded to the Kenosha residence near the location of the shooting on Sunday appear to have been warned by the dispatcher to be on ‘alert at this address for a ninety-nine.’
In police code, 10-99 can refer to a wanted suspect, according to CNN.
It’s unclear whether the officers knew the exact circumstances of the outstanding warrant against Blake when they arrived at the residence.
Earlier on Friday, Blake’s father revealed the news that his son was handcuffed to his bed at Froedtert Hospital.
Outrage spread quickly at the news, and people demanded Kenosha police remove the handcuffs.
‘How the f**k do you handcuff Jacob Blake that you paralyzed to a hospital bed after you shot him in the back seven times?’ tweeted Rashida Tlaib, congresswoman for the neighboring state of Michigan.
Tony Evers, governor of Wisconsin, was asked if he’s concerned about Blake being handcuffed.
‘Hell yes,’ he said.
‘I would have no personal understanding why that would be necessary.
‘I can’t imagine why that’s happening and I would hope that we would be able to find a better way to have him get better and recover.’
Jacob Blake Sr told the Chicago Sun Times that he had just been to see his son in hospital.
‘I hate it that he was laying in that bed with the handcuff onto the bed,’ he said.
‘He can’t go anywhere. Why do you have him cuffed to the bed?’
Blake also asked what he had been arrested for, and received no answer.
The Blake family attorney, Benjamin Crump, said it would take a ‘miracle’ for Blake to recover use of his legs.
‘The medical diagnosis right now is that he is paralyzed, because those bullets severed his spinal cord,’ he said at a press conference on Tuesday.
‘He will need a miracle to walk again. He is currently in surgery as we speak, to try and save his life. And return to some semblance of the man he once was.’
Crump’s legal partner, Patrick Salvi, confirmed that a bullet went through his spinal cord. He had bullets in his stomach, and had to have almost his entire colon removed. He had a bullet in the kidney, and in the arm.
‘He has a long road to recovery,’ said Mr Salvi.
When Blake, 29, saw his father in the hospital Wednesday, he thought he was hallucinating because he could not believe what he was seeing, according to his father.
‘I told him, ‘You thought Daddy wasn’t going to see my son?’ his father said.
‘He grabbed my hand, held it real tight and started weeping, telling me how much he loved me.’
Though his son’s eyes were swollen, the elder Jacob Blake said he ‘looked and sounded like’ his son, and he’s alive.
Seeing him in the hospital was like walking across a desert to find someone waiting with a glass of water, his father said.
‘It was way more than fulfilling,’ his father said.
‘It was a feeling I can’t describe.’
Renatto Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, said: ‘Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times and is paralyzed from the waist down.
‘What possible justification could there be for handcuffing him to his hospital bed?’
Wesley Lowery, correspondent for 60 Minutes, said he had just spoken to Blake’s uncle, who was deeply distressed by the handcuffing of his nephew.
‘One thing the family is particularly upset about — the uncle just gave me a call to make sure I had noted this in our interview — is that Jacob Blake, shot seven times and paralyzed, has been handcuffed to his hospital bed,’ Lowery said.
Rusten Sheskey, the police officer who shot Blake in the back, is a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department.
Sheskey, 31, has been put on administrative leave while Wisconsin officials investigate the confrontation caught on video.
Sheskey, a member of the department’s bicycle squad, long aspired to a law enforcement career and once described police work as ‘a customer service job, and the public is our customer.’
On Thursday officials announced that the National Guard will send troops from three additional states – Arizona, Alabama and Michigan – to Kenosha to assist with operations there.
Evers had already authorized the deployment of the Wisconsin National Guard to Kenosha, and declared a state of emergency Tuesday and enforced an overnight curfew lasting until Sunday.
On Tuesday night protests at Blake’s shooting descended into lethal violence in which two men, Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha, and Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake, were shot dead.
Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was arrested on Wednesday at his home in Antioch, Illinois, accused of killing the protesters.
In Washington, the Justice Department said it was sending in more than 200 federal agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The White House said up to 2,000 National Guard troops would be made available.
The Justice Department also announced that the U.S. attorney’s office and FBI would conduct a civil rights investigation into the shooting of Blake, in cooperation with Wisconsin state law enforcement agencies.
Groups that had taken to Kenosha’s streets with long guns were nowhere to be seen early Thursday following somber protests and no widespread unrest for the first night since the weekend police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Marchers were solemn during Wednesday night’s protests in the southeastern Wisconsin city between Milwaukee and Chicago following the chaos of the previous night.