MILWAUKEE (AP) — An uncle of Jacob Blake filed a federal lawsuit alleging sheriff’s deputies in Wisconsin unjustly arrested and tortured him during a protest over the 2020 Kenosha police shooting of his nephew.
Justin Blake filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Milwaukee, alleging that he was standing quietly outside Kenosha’s public safety building during an April 2021 protest when sheriff’s deputies arrested him and strapped him into an emergency restraint chair for almost seven hours. He says his neck, back and shoulders were injured and that the Kenosha County deputies’ treatment of him amounted to state-sponsored torture.
He argues that deputies recognized him as Jacob Blake’s uncle and that they used the restraint chair after he exercised his right not to answer questions following his arrest. The lawsuit seeks an order ending use of the restraint chair as well as unspecified damages.
Kenosha County’s corporation counsel, Joseph Cardamone III, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment about the lawsuit Wednesday.
A white police officer shot Jacob Blake, who is Black, during a domestic disturbance in August 2020. The shooting left Blake paralyzed from the waist down. A prosecutor later declined to file charges against the officer.
Protesters converged on Kenosha in the days immediately following the shooting, with demonstrations at times turning violent. During one of those protests, Kyle Rittenhouse shot three men, killing two of them. A jury acquitted him of multiple charges last year, finding that he acted in self-defense.