A video that surfaced online Saturday shows Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old father of six, speaking publicly from his hospital bed for the first time since he was shot in the back seven times by police last month in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The video of Blake was shared by Civil Rights lawyer Ben Crump and has been viewed on Twitter over a million times.
“It’s a lot more life to live out here, man,” Blake says in the video. “Your life, and not only just your life, your legs, something you need to move forward in life, can be taken from you like this.”
He describes the physical pain he’s enduring due to bullets lodged in his back from the shooting. “I got staples in my back, staples in my damn stomach,” he says. “Every 24 hours 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.
“Please, I’m telling you. Change y’all lives out there,” Blake continues. “We can stick together, make some money, make everything easier for our people out there. There’s so much time that has been wasted.”
Late last month, video was released that showed Kenosha police shooting Blake from behind multiple times as he appeared to be entering a vehicle. Police were reportedly responding to a domestic dispute call when two officers approached Blake with guns drawn and attempted to taser him, soon after firing shots into his back. The Kenosha News reported that according to witnesses, Blake was trying to break up a conflict between two women when officers arrived.
Despite early reports of his death, after the incident, Blake was taken into intensive care in serious condition at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.
On the heels of the fatal police shootings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Blake’s shooting sparked mass protests and civil unrest in Wisconsin and around the country.
According to WTMJ-TV, Blake appeared virtually at a court hearing on Friday where he pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault that were filed against him in July of this year. Blake was also charged with disorderly conduct, domestic abuse, and criminal trespass.
The Kenosha County District Attorney’s office said Blake was wanted by the police for the aforementioned charges on the day of the shooting.
Blake’s shooting is currently under investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Justice, which has stated that it plans to provide a full report of the events within 30 days. The involved officers were placed on administrative leave.
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H/T the Root