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Jacob Blake handcuffed to hospital bed, family say

Protesters march during a demonstration held in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake by police officers, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, US, 27 August 2020Image copyright
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The shooting of Jacob Blake triggered days of protests in Kenosha and other cities

Jacob Blake, the black man shot seven times in the back by police in the US state of Wisconsin, has been handcuffed to his hospital bed, his family says.

Mr Blake was paralysed by the shooting and it is not clear if he will recover.

Police in Kenosha told the BBC that Mr Blake was in custody for previous warrants and the handcuffs were policy.

Meanwhile, a court hearing for a teenager charged with killing two people during unrest over Mr Blake’s shooting has been delayed by a month.

Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, had been due to appear before a court in Lake County, Illinois, for a hearing on a request to have him extradited to Wisconsin. But a judge postponed the extradition hearing until 25 September, the Associated Press reported.

Mr Rittenhouse did not appear during Friday’s brief video conference.

He faces six criminal counts, including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and possession of a dangerous weapon below the legal age of 18.

Kyle Rittenhouse is being defended by a prominent legal firm whose clients have included President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani and former Trump adviser Carter Page, according to Reuters news agency.

Mr Blake’s shooting in the city of Kenosha sparked demonstrations there and in other cities across the US. It has been relatively quiet for the past two nights.

What have the family said?

Mr Blake’s father, also called Jacob Blake, spoke to reporters after visiting his son in hospital.

“I hate it that he was laying in that bed with the handcuff on to the bed,” he said, quoted by the Chicago Sun-Times. “He can’t go anywhere. Why do you have him cuffed to the bed?”

Mr Blake’s lawyers have said it will take “a miracle” for him to walk again.

Lt Eric Klinkhammer, of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, told the BBC: “Mr Blake is in custody for previous felony warrants. Our policy indicates that all people in custody outside of our jail facility shall be secured with restraints.”

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Jacob Blake’s father spoke to reporters after visiting his son in hospital

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, asked by reporters if he was concerned that Mr Blake had been handcuffed to his bed, said: “Hell yes.”

“I would have no personal understanding why that would be necessary,” he said. “Certainly he’s paid a horrific price already, been shot seven or eight times in the back.”

Members of Mr Blake’s family were due to attend a high-profile civil rights rally in Washington on Friday. It has been spurred by months of unrest over police brutality against black people.

On Thursday the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called for the immediate resignation of Kenosha’s police chief and county sheriff, accusing them of defending “white supremacy” and “demonizing people who were murdered for exercising their First Amendment rights and speaking out against police violence”.

How did the shooting happen?

The circumstances that led up to Mr Blake’s shooting are still under investigation.

Wisconsin Attorney-General Josh Kaul said officers were called to an address after a woman reported that “her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises”.

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

While there, officers tried to arrest Mr Blake, initially using a taser against him. After Mr Blake opened his car door, officer Rusten Sheskey – who has been in the Kenosha Police Department for seven years – fired seven shots into Mr Blake’s back.

“No other officer fired their weapon,” Mr Kaul said.

Mr Kaul added that officers “recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard” of the car. No other weapon was found in the vehicle.

Rusten Sheskey and another officer have since been placed on administrative leave.

What about Kyle Rittenhouse?

The 17-year-old had told journalists it was “his job” to guard buildings in Kenosha against protesters.

Videos on social media appeared to show a man with a rifle being chased by a crowd before he fell to the ground and appeared to fire at them.

Joseph Rosenbaum, 36 and Anthony Huber, 26, both died in the incident. Gaige Grosskreutz, also 26, was injured.

Mr Rittenhouse was arrested at his mother’s house in Antioch, Illinois on Wednesday.

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

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