CW: hospital and references to harm and violence against Black people.
Update: On the 6th of September, Jacob Blake released a video message while in hospital, via his lawyer. It’s the first message from Blake since he was brutally shot. In the video, he opened up about the immense pain he’s suffering.
“Every 24 hours its pain, nothing but pain. It hurts to breathe, it hurts to sleep, it hurts to move from side to side, it hurts to eat,” he said.
“Your life, and not only just your life, your legs, something you need to move around and forward in life, can be taken from you like this,” he added. “Stick together, make some money, make everything easier for our people out there, man, because there’s so much time that’s been wasted,”
According to his family, via the BBC, he may be paralysed from the waist down but as he says, he has “more life to live.”
Continue reading for the full original story.
On Sunday evening on the 23rd of August, Jacob Blake was shot in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake is a 29-year-old Black man who is reported to be recovering in hospital. The incident comes after months of Black Lives Matter protests initially sparked by the killing of George Floyd, another Black man, at the hands of police.
What happened to Jacob Blake?
On the evening it happened, police in Kenosha, Wisconsin were responding to a “domestic incident,” when they shot Blake in the back. On Monday, it was reported Blake was alive in serious condition at Froedtert Hospital near Milwaukee. According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, the officers involved have now been put on administrative leave.
As is the case with many of these incidents, part of the altercation was caught on video and was widely circulated on social media. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the video “shows a man in a white shirt and black shorts walking to a gray van, followed by two male police officers with weapons drawn. The video does not show what happened before the man walked away from the officers, nor what was said, if anything.”
From there, “the man opens the door to get in, an officer grabs his shirt to hold him still, then appears to shoot him in the back at close range. Seven shots are heard, followed by a car horn, presumably from the man’s head falling forward.”
According to Kenosha News, several people after the shooting explained that Blake was trying to break up an argument between two women, “at least a half dozen witnesses said that the man had tried to break up a fight between the two women outside a home at 2805 40th St. and that police had attempted to use a Taser on the man prior to the shooting.”
The Wisconsin Governer Tony Evers tweeted a statement about the incident. “Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kathy and I join his family, friends, and neighbors in hoping earnestly that he will not succumb to his injuries. While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country.”
He continued in the thread to name other Black people that have been killed or died as a result of racism. “I have said all along that although we must offer our empathy, equally important is our action. In the coming days, we will demand just that of elected officials in our state who have failed to recognize the racism in our state and our country for far too long.”
What’s happening now?
According to a statement released on Monday, the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting. The statement reads, “DCI is leading this investigation and is assisted by Wisconsin State Patrol and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office. All involved law enforcement are fully cooperating with DCI during this investigation. The involved officers have been placed on administrative leave.”
Protests began on Sunday in Kenosha, with some outlets reporting that police already began to use tear gas on protestors that evening. It appears the protests are spreading, with many gathering in New York to protest the shooting.
The same civil rights attorney, Benjamin Crump, who is representing George Floyd’s family is now also representing Blake’s family. He also tweeted a statement about the incident: “We will seek justice for Jacob Blake and his family as we demand answers from the Kenosha Police Department. How many more of these tragic ‘while Black’ tragedies will it take until the racial profiling and undervaluing of Black lives by the police finally stops?”
How can you help?
Contact local and state officials to demand justice for Blake and for the police officers involved to be held accountable:
- Kenosha District Attorney: 262-653-2400, Michael.Graveley@da.wi.gov
- Kenosha Mayor and City Administrator: 262-653-4000, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wisconsin DOJ: 608-266-1221
Donate to the Blake family’s fundraiser for medical bills, family expenses, legal representation, support for his children and therapy costs.
Sign the petition to demand justice.