The uncle of a Black man shot by police in Kenosha in 2020 has filed a federal lawsuit alleging sheriff’s deputies unjustly arrested and tortured him during a protest over the incident.
Justin Blake filed the action Tuesday in Milwaukee. He alleges that he was standing quietly outside the city’s public safety building during a protest over the shooting in April 2021 when sheriff’s deputies arrested him and strapped him into an emergency restraint chair for almost seven hours. He says he suffered injuries to his neck, back and shoulders and his treatment amounted to state-sponsored torture.
He argues that deputies recognized him as Jacob Blake’s uncle and punished him using excessive force for exercising his free speech rights. 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.
A white police officer shot Jacob Blake during a domestic disturbance in Kenosha in August 2020. The shooting left Jacob Blake paralyzed from the waist down. Protesters converged on Kenosha in the days immediately following the shooting, with some demonstrations turning violent. Kyle Rittenhouse shot three men, killing two of them, during one of the protests. A jury acquitted him of multiple charges last year, finding that he fired in self-defense.
Protests over the shooting and treatment of people of color in Kenosha have continued sporadically since the shooting.