Jacob Blake Speaks Out For the First Time Since Kenosha Shooting

September 6, 2020

Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Black man at the center of a police-involved shooting that has led to protests, rioting and high profile political visits in Kenosha, has spoken out for the first time since being shot seven times in the back by a police officer.

Blake talked to his supporters from his hospital bed in a video shared on social media Saturday by his attorney, Benjamin Crump. The video, which is just under a minute long, showed Blake in a hospital gown as he described the staples that are now in his body and the constant pain he feels. He also offered encouragement to those supporting him. 

“Twenty-four hours— every 24 hours, it’s pain, it’s nothing but pain. It hurts to breathe. It hurts to sleep. It hurts to move from side to side. It hurts to eat,” Blake said. 

On the evening of Aug. 23, Rusten Sheskey, a white Kenosha police officer, shot Blake in the back seven times as he entered his SUV where his three young sons were inside watching. Blake suffered a severed spinal cord and is paralyzed from the waist down.

The shooting spurred protests and demonstrations that devolved into deadly violence, including incidents involving an Illinois teen.  Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from north suburban Antioch, was charged on Aug. 26 with murder for fatally shooting two people and wounding a third with a semi-automatic weapon following a downtown Kenosha protest the night before. Rittenhouse will remain in custody in Illinois until later this month.

President Donald Trump visited the small Wisconsin city Tuesday where he toured property affected by recent riots and met with public safety officials. He did not meet with Blake or his family.  

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden visited Kenosha Thursday where he outlined his plans to reform police and help minority communities. Biden also met with Blake’s family and spoke to him by phone. 

Blake pleaded not guilty on Friday to several charges including criminal sexual assault from an incident in May.

Jury selection is set to begin on November 9.

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