In his first public comments about being shot seven times in the back and paralyzed by a Wisconsin police officer, Jacob Blake described the pain he endures 24 hours a day and how his life changed in the snap of a finger.
The 29-year-old Black man, who was shot last month in Kenosha in front of three of his children, broke his silence in the 57-second video from his hospital bed that was released by his attorney.
“I just want to say, man, to all the young cats out there, and even the older ones older than me, it’s a lot more life to live out here, man. Your life and not only just your life, your legs, something that you need to move around and move forward in life, can be taken from you like this, man,” he says snapping his right fingers.
Blake, a father of six children, was shot on Aug. 23 when Kenosha police officers, including Officer Rusten Sheskey, 31, responded to a domestic incident after a woman called 911 saying, “Her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises,” according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation. The woman has not been identified and authorities have not said if Blake was the subject of the complaint.
Once on the scene, officers said they tried to arrest Blake and deployed a Taser in an unsuccessful attempt to detain him, the department said. Investigators said Blake walked to his vehicle, “opened the driver’s side door, and leaned forward,” before Sheskey, who is white, fired seven shots into Blake’s back, according to the agency.
The shooting was captured on a witness’s cellphone video, sparking protests in Kenosha that included vandalism, looting, numerous arrests and the deaths of two men who were allegedly shot by a 17-year-old suspect who was among a group who say they were protecting property.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Blake and his family, posted the video of Blake speaking from Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee on Saturday, writing, “Jacob Blake released this powerful video message from his hospital bed today, reminding everyone just how precious life is.”