In a video message from his hospital bed, Jacob Blake, the young Black man shot in the back multiple times by a white police officer in Wisconsin, has said: “It hurts to breathe,” and that he is in constant pain.
Despite his injuries, which will likely leave him paralysed from the waist down, Blake told his supporters in the video released on Saturday by his lawyer Ben Crump: “There’s a lot more life to live.”
“Your life, and not only just your life, your legs – something that you need to move around and forward in life – can be taken from you like this, man,” Blake said, snapping his fingers.
Wearing a hospital gown, Blake said he had staples in his back and stomach. “Twenty-four hours, every 24 hours it’s pain, it’s nothing but pain,” he said.
“It hurts to breathe, it hurts to sleep, it hurts to move from side-to-side, it hurts to eat,” he said in the video, which has more than 400,000 views on Twitter so far.
“Please, I’m telling you, change your lives out there. We can stick together, make some money, make everything easier for our people out there, man, because there’s so much time that’s been wasted.”
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 6, 2020
The 29-year-old was seriously wounded when a policeman fired seven or eight shots at him as he tried to get into his car on August 23 in Kenosha, in the Midwestern state of Wisconsin.
Crump, a civil rights lawyer, said three of Blake’s sons – aged three, five and eight – were in the car at the time of the shooting.
The scene was filmed by bystanders and the two police officers who were trying to stop or arrest Blake have been suspended.
Coming three months after the death of George Floyd, Blake’s shooting kicked off a fresh round of demonstrations in several cities.
Protests in Kenosha began peacefully the night Blake was shot, but descended into violence for several nights running.
On August 25 the demonstrations resulted in two people being shot dead. A 17-year-old white Trump supporter has been arrested and charged with the murders.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden spoke with Blake by phone on Thursday and met his family.
“I had an opportunity to spend some time with Jacob on the phone. He’s out of [intensive care], we spoke for about 15 minutes,” Biden told a community meeting at a church in Kenosha on Friday.
“He talked about how nothing was going to defeat him, how whether he walked again or not, he was not going to give up.”