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Attorney On Jacob Blake's Condition And Protests In Kenosha, Wis.


Two people are dead after violence erupted in Kenosha, Wis., last night. A 17-year-old from Illinois has been arrested in connection with the deaths. The county sheriff says that self-styled militias with guns have been patrolling the streets since protests broke out over the police shooting of a black man on Sunday. That man's name is Jacob Blake. B'Ivory LaMarr is a lawyer for Blake's family. And when I spoke with him earlier, I started by asking about Blake's condition.

B'IVORY LAMARR: Jacob's condition is still in critical condition, of course. He's had several operations. We are optimistic that, you know, he'll have some type of recovery in which he can have some type of enjoyment of life. The odds of him walking again is, you know, not very probable.

CORNISH: We've heard so little from Kenosha police about what happened. They claim that they were responding to a domestic dispute. But so far, I haven't heard that they've explained why officers opened fire. They haven't disclosed the race of the three officers or their identities. Can you tell us what you're asking for from the police department?

LAMARR: These are the challenges that we have is that when you have police departments and you have bad apples, so to speak, you know, we want to be clear that we're not against police officers and law enforcement as a whole. It's just these bad apples. And when these type of circumstances happen, police departments tend to be very closed in and not very transparent with the families. So we're calling for the names of the officers to be released. We're calling for the termination of these officers. So we're asking for very swift action to be taken by the Kenosha Police Department. And the community and the family deserves that.

CORNISH: As we said, Mr. Blake is still getting care. He's still in critical condition. But in the meantime, Illinois police have arrested a young man responsible, they believe, for the death of two people during the protest in Kenosha. What's the reaction from the family to this?

LAMARR: You know, dealing with the first situation with Jacob is in itself unnerving. And in a protest, in a fight for equality while citizens try to advocate and exercise their constitutional rights to do so and end up dead at the result of exercising those privileges, it brings America to a new low. You know, it's hard. It adds to the pain. You know, we respect the individuals' and citizens' rights to stand up and exercise free speech. And they should not end up injured or killed as a result.

CORNISH: And the backdrop to this is the Wisconsin governor, Tony Evers, has supported the authorization of members of the National Guard to come to Kenosha to help law enforcement.

LAMARR: You know, I think that will probably hurt more than help the situation. The people not only in a city of Kenosha or in the state of Wisconsin, they're calling for a dialogue. There needs to be some type of change. And it happens from the top down. It happens from the chief of police in Kenosha County standing up and saying these officers were, you know, rogue. They did not follow the standard operating procedures. This is not the way we train our officers. And as a result, you know, we're looking into taking disciplinary action as a result of that. That's the type of action that will calm these type of situations.

CORNISH: Jacob Blake was shot essentially in front of his children. What kind of condition are they in right now? How is the family coping?

LAMARR: You know, I - thank you for asking that question. You know, in these situations, the children overwhelmingly kind of been overlooked. You know, they were in the back seat of that vehicle. They experienced this firsthand. And they are having some real issues. I can tell you that. They're going to need very substantial counseling and help to kind of deal with these things and, you know, No. 1 from dealing with the emotional distress from what they personally seen and then also from seeing their father, you know, the leader of their family - you know, Jacob was a family man. He was very involved in his children's life. In fact, as we know on that Sunday, he was - there was a birthday party for one of his sons in which he was kind of orchestrating. And, you know, it's very painful.

CORNISH: B'Ivory Lamarr, thank you so much for speaking with us.

LAMARR: Thank you so much. I appreciate you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.