MILWAUKEE – Jacob Blake, shot seven times by Kenosha, Wisconsin, police, has some powerful words from his hospital bed as the nation grapples with escalating tension over racial inequities: “There’s a lot more life to live.”
A minute-long video was posted to Twitter on Saturday by Blake’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, in which the 29-year-old Black man calmly described the pain he’s experienced and encouraged viewers to value their lives and lives of others. Blake is paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in the back at point-blank range by Kenosha Police Department Officer Rusten Sheskey on Aug. 23.
“There’s a lot more life to live out here man,” he said. “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. I promise you, the type of (expletive) that you will go through – I got staples in my back, staples in my (expletive) stomach – you do not want to have to deal with this (expletive), man.
“Every 24 hours, it’s … 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 your lives out there. We can stick together, make some money, make everything easier for our people out here, man, because there’s so much time that has been wasted.”
The video comes a day after Blake made his first public appearance by video in Kenosha County Circuit Court. On Friday, he pleaded not guilty to several charges stemming from a domestic incident in May – a case unrelated to the shooting.
The investigation into the shooting is ongoing and being conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
Video of the shooting set off days of protests in Kenosha – which sometimes included looting, arson and violence – and attracted in-person visits from President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Blake was initially handcuffed to his hospital bed with deputies stationed in the room until the open warrant in the domestic case was vacated a week ago after a $500 bail was posted. The handcuffing outraged Blake’s family and others, including Gov. Tony Evers.
A GoFundMe page for Blake’s medical expenses and counseling for him and his family raised $2.2 million as of Saturday evening.