Jacob Blake has spoken publicly for the first time since a police officer shot him seven times in the back. The 29-year-old says he has been in constant pain from the shooting that doctors fear will leave him paralyzed from the waist down.
In a video posted on Twitter by his family lawyer, Ben Crump, Saturday night, Blake said from his hospital bed, “Every 24 hours it’s pain, nothing but pain. It hurts to breathe, it hurts to sleep, it hurts to move from side to side, it hurts to eat. “
Blake, a father of six, said he had braces in his back and stomach.
“Your life and not just your life, your legs, something that you have to move and move forward in life, can be taken away from you,”
He added, “Sticking together, making some money, making things easier for our people out there, man, because so much time has been wasted.”
The black Blake was shot in the back by a white police officer on August 23 after he walked away from three police officers trying to arrest him. The officer who shot him, Rusten Sheskey, fired after Blake opened the driver’s door of his car and leaned into the vehicle. The filming was recorded on video and posted online, sparking several nights of protests and unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a city of approximately 100,000 people between Milwaukee and Chicago.
Sheskey and the other officers present were on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice. None of them were charged.
Blake, who had a warrant pending when he was shot, pleaded not guilty on Friday, accusing him of sexually assaulting a woman in May and waiving his right to a preliminary hearing. Blake emerged from his hospital bed via videoconference, wearing a shirt and tie. He only spoke to answer the judge’s questions.
The state Justice Department has said a knife was recovered from Blake’s vehicle, but did not say whether he was holding it when officers tried to arrest him.
The man who made the popular cell phone video of the shooting, 22-year-old Raysean White, said he saw Blake shuffling with three officers and heard them scream, “Drop the knife,” before gunfire broke out. He said he didn’t see a knife in Blake’s hands.
The Kenosha Police Union said Blake had the knife and refused to be ordered to drop it. Blake struggled with police, including hiring an officer in a headlock, the union said. The police used a taser twice that didn’t stop Blake.