Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) on Tuesday questioned the circumstances that led up to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man who a Kenosha, Wis. who was shot seven times in the back at close range.
“I don’t know what happened there. Let’s find out. It’s dangerous being a cop,” Graham said when asked during a press conference announcing the endorsement of the South Carolina Fraternal Order of Police whether the police shooting in Kenosha suggests that protestors’ grievances are still not being heard, even after months of nationwide protests and rioting sparked by the death of George Floyd in May.
“I don’t know why the gentleman didn’t yield when he was asked to yield. I don’t know what the facts are,” he added.
Video of the incident, which occurred Sunday evening when Kenosha police responded to a domestic violence call, appears to show Blake walking to a van followed by two police officers with weapons drawn. As Blake tries to get into the van, where his three children are waiting, an officer appears to grab him by the shirt and fires several shots at close range into his back.
Blake remains in critical condition and is paralyzed from the waist down after sustaining spinal injuries from the shooting, the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Tuesday.
However, Graham said he supports police reform measures and that Floyd’s death was an example of “heinous” and “wrong” policing.
“Police are not above the law,” Graham said. “There are places where police act with impunity. This is not one of those nations.”
Graham’s statements come as an August Quinnipiac poll put him in a near tie with his Democratic challenger Jamie Harrison in a race for his Senate seat in South Carolina, where more than 30 percent of the population is black, Politico reported.
Graham called on his opponent to return donations from MoveOn.org, as the organization supports redirecting funds from police departments to municipal services and community programs, though Harrison has denied that he supports defunding the police.