Jacob Blake, the 28-year-old black man who was shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, WI, has delivered his first public statement since a video of his shooting sparked a new wave of protests across the country.
Bed-locked and draped in his hospital gown, Blake’s statement was a plea for people to acknowledge the fragility of their lives. “Your life, and not only just your life, your legs, can be taken from you like this,” Blake tells supporters in a clip shared by his family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump. Blake adds, “I just want to say, to all the young cats out there and even the older ones, there’s a lot more life to live out here, man,” before detailing the pain of merely breathing in his current condition, paralyzed from the waist down with staples in his back and stomach. Blake caps the brief address by advocating for financial solvency within his community. “We can stick together, make some money, make everything easier for our people,” Blake concludes, striking a more hopeful note as he closed out the statement.
In the weeks since Blake’s shooting, the Justice Department and Wisconsin state officials each launched an investigation into the incident, according to The Hill. Earlier this week, Rusten Sheskey was identified as the officer who shot Blake in a statement from Wisconsin Attorney General, Josh Kaul. Sheskey has since been put on administrative leave. In response to the shooting, demonstrations calling for drastic policing reforms have been renewed and for the first-time-ever, professional athletes orchestrated a strike, standing in solidarity with Blake’s supporters by refusing to play their scheduled games in the NBA, WNBA, and MLB.
You can watch Jacob Blake’s full statement down below. Stay tuned for updates on the investigation in the weeks and months ahead.
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