A Black man left paralysed from the waist down by a Wisconsin white police officer’s shooting in the back expects to soon be walking again. However, he is still worried about it happening again.
Jacob Blake Jr. was shot seven times by a Kenosha police officer in August 2020, three months after George Floyd was killed by police in Minnesota. The shooting of Blake sparked violent protests in the city, which is home to about 100,000 people and lies midway between Chicago & Milwaukee.
Blake tells CNN he was able to take a few steps during his son’s birthday celebration this past week, which he compared to sliding his legs through a woodchipper. He isn’t claiming victory, even though he was “so geeked” by the moment that came after months of rehabilitation.
Blake stated that he is here and that he’s about to start walking. But, he said that he doesn’t feel like a survivor because it could happen again. “I haven’t survived until something has happened.”
Blake stated that he still feels the pain of his shooting and other gun violence in Black communities. Blake, who was visiting Chicago for Fourth of July fireworks, called 911 to report what he later discovered was an anxiety attack.
Blake stated, “I hear these booms (fireworks), and it’sn’t scaring me that I got shot. It’s frightening me because all those people have been shot so every boom went off, it’s kind of making people die.”
Blake was shot by Kenosha police Officer Rusten Sheskey after he and two other Kenosha officers tried to arrest Blake on an outstanding warrant. Blake lost his pocketknife in a scuffle. He claimed he took the knife out of Blake’s pants and walked to a car to take it with him. After he had put the knife into the vehicle, he said that he was ready to surrender. Sheskey, who was not charged, told investigators that he feared for his own safety.
The shooting touched off chaotic protests in the Kenosha area, during which time an Illinois man allegedly shot and killed two demonstrators and wounded another. Kyle Rittenhouse faces two charges of felony murder and one charge of attempted felony murder in the attack that left Blake “furious” and “angry.”
Blake stated that they had every reason not to shoot Blake because of the reasons they claimed they shot him. “Honestly, if his skin color had been different, and I’m certainly not prejudiced or racist, he would probably have been called a terrorist.”