AKRON, Ohio — Akron, Ohio police arrested the father of Jacob Blake on Wednesday while protesting the police killing of a 25-year-old Black man.
Akron Municipal Court records confirm Jacob Blake Sr. was arrested on four counts: riot, resisting arrest, failure to disperse and disorderly conduct.
Twitter account @FamilysSoupTV posted a video showing the moment police officers arrested Jacob Blake Sr. He is seen bent over the hood of a vehicle with handcuffs on. "He's handicapped, that's Jacob Blake Sr. You know who that is, right?" said a witness in the video.
Police shot and killed 25-year-old Jayland Walker following a traffic-related pursuit on June 27. Police later said Walker was not armed. Walker was shot dozens of times and police released body-camera footage showing the shooting.
The police shooting sparked protests in the area, drawing Blake and Breonna Taylor's aunt, Bianca Taylor. Akron's mayor had lifted a curfew the same day. He said he hoped protesters would be peaceful.
“After the Jacob Blake situation, he [Jacob Blake Sr.] has been involved in many other protests across the country in this regard,” said B’Ivory LaMarr, an attorney for the Blake family.
All the charges 55-year-old Blake was arrested on are misdemeanors.
“Last night, they both were arrested and Jacob, who has health concerns, is right now in the hospital,” said Minister Stephen Muhammad, who is also a member of the Coalition for a Safe Community in Akron, Ohio. “We are demanding that the mayor and the police chief, specifically the mayor, release all of those who were arrested for peacefully protesting. Send them home to their families.”
The video shows moments before Blake Senior’s arrest. You see police are speaking with a man holding a flag. At one point, you see the man in the red hat get pushed back by police, then there is some sort of a struggle. Blake Senior gets out of a vehicle and reaches between the police and the man they have surrounded. The person recording the video cuts away for a few seconds before returning to see Blake Senior being held by a police officer against a barricade.
LaMarr says the arrest did not need to happen.
“I think the video is very clear that Jacob Blake Senior isn’t posing a threat to anyone,” said LaMarr. “The actions by the officers, especially in dealing with the protesters in Akron, was clearly excessive. I think the force that was used was completely unjustified.”
His son, Jacob Blake Jr., was shot by a Kenosha Police Officer 7 times and left partially paralyzed. The shooting led to massive protests and unrest across Wisconsin and the nation. That Kenosha officer, Rusten Sheskey, was not criminally charged in the shooting. Jacob Blake Sr. has been a vocal participant in police-related protests since then.
Akron Police issued the following statement:
Protests began yesterday at approximately noon and remained peaceful until around 8:30 p.m. Approximately 50 or more protesters were gathered in front of the Harold Stubbs Justice Center (police station) and some subjects amongst the crowd began to block and disrupt the flow of traffic on High Street. Police provided information and direction to demonstrators on where they could safely and legally protest.
At some point, members of the crowd continued blocking traffic on High Street. A short time later, officers gave multiple orders to disperse, and warnings were issued that failure to comply would result in arrests. After members in the group failed to comply with the orders and continued to block the intersection, officers moved in and placed two men under arrest.
A 55-year-old male, and another man, 37, were taken into custody, and force was needed to effect their arrest. Both men, from North Carolina, were charged with Rioting, Disorderly Conduct, Failure to Disperse, and Resisting Arrest.
One of the men was later transported to the Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital for a medical evaluation. The other male was transported to the Summit County Jail following his arrest.
During the ordeal, officers deployed chemical irritants from handheld canisters to clear the area and disperse the crowd. After the protesters dispersed, a large group of nearly 100 people relocated to the Cleveland Clinic Akron General Medical Center and subjects in the group reportedly blocked Wabash Avenue making it difficult to access the entrance to the emergency room which led to a lockdown of the hospital. City EMS services were temporarily redirected. Once the parking lot and street were cleared, normal service was restored.
In total, 7 people were arrested, including the two men previously mentioned. The subjects arrested were from out of town, including subjects from Kentucky, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.
We fully support our residents’ right to peacefully assemble. Acts of violence and property damage are illegal and will not be permitted.