Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Tuesday appeared to justify the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, by questioning his actions before he was shot multiple times by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week. Blake was unarmed and appeared to pose no threat to the officers or anyone else at the time of the incident.
“It’s dangerous being a cop. I don’t know why the gentleman didn’t yield when he was asked to yield, ,” Graham said, according to Politico. “I don’t know what the facts are,” he added.
Graham’s comments came during a press conference announcing the endorsement of the South Carolina Fraternal Order of Police when he was asked about the latest shooting of a Black man by police, which has sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality.
Jacob Blake was shot by a Kenosha officer responding to a domestic dispute on Sunday, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
Video captured by a witness showed Blake walking around an SUV on the side of a street as two officers trailed him with their firearms pointed in his direction. After Blake was about to open the driver’s side door and leaned into the vehicle, an officer grabbed him from behind and fired his weapon seven times as he grabs Blake’s shirt, the clip shows.
Blake’s three children were in the car at the time of the shooting.
His family said Tuesday that the man is paralyzed from the waist down. He remains hospitalized in serious condition, and his father said there are now “eight holes” in the lower half of his body.
“What justified all those shots?” Blake’s father told the Chicago Sun-Times. “What justified doing that in front of my grandsons? What are we doing?”
The shooting sparked massive protests in Kenosha and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) activated the National Guard to assist local law enforcement.
Sen. Graham is currently up for reelection in South Carolina, a state with more than 30 percent Black residents, and is facing a fierce challenge from Democrat Jamie Harrison.
The Cook Political Report last week shifted its outlook for the race toward Harrison, a former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman and the first African American to serve in that role.