One of the most interesting and fortunate things about the case of Jacob Blake is that, unlike most high-profile victims of police violence who have become the subject of protests and civil unrest, Blake is alive not only to tell his side of the story but to remind us that behind all the politics, drama and sensationalism is a person...a human being. In a video posted to Twitter Saturday by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, Blake is seen from his hospital bed speaking publicly for the first time since he was shot in the back seven times by a Kenosha, Wis., police officer.
“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,” Blake said adding that for him “Twenty-four hours, 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.”
The 29-year-old father of six also urged Black people to “Stick together, make some money, make everything easier for our people out there, man, because there’s so much time that’s been wasted.”
In the video, Blake doesn’t speak on the police accounts of what happened the night he was shot or the criminal charges he is currently facing, but again, at least he’s alive to be heard from on these things.
From the Associated Press:
Blake, who had an outstanding arrest warrant when he was shot, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges accusing him of sexually assaulting a woman in May and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Blake appeared remotely via video conference from his Milwaukee hospital bed, wearing a dress shirt and tie. He spoke only to respond to the judge’s questions.
The state Justice Department has said a knife was recovered from Blake’s vehicle, but it has not said whether he was holding it when officers tried to arrest him.
The man who made the widely seen cellphone video of the shooting, 22-year-old Raysean White, said he saw Blake scuffling with three officers and heard them yell, “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” before gunfire erupted. He said he didn’t see a knife in Blake’s hands.
The Kenosha police union said Blake had the knife and refused orders to drop it. Blake fought with police, including putting one officer in a headlock, the union said. Police twice used a Taser, which did not stop Blake.
White America is used to having a dead Black police shooting victim who can be painted with a narrative of its choosing. This time, it isn’t that simple and that’s fortunate regardless of what the truth turns out to be.