Jacob Blake has released his first public statement after being shot in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
Blake, 29, spoke out from his hospital bed in a video message released on Saturday by his attorney Ben Crump.
‘I just want to say, man – a lot of young cats out there and even the older ones, older than me, it’s a lot more life to live out here man,’ Blake said in the video.
‘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, man,’ he said, snapping his fingers.
‘And I promise you the type of s**t you go through, staples, I got staples in my back, staples in my damn stomach, you do not want to deal with this s**t, man. Twenty-four hours, every twenty-four hours it’s pain, nothing but pain,’ Blake continued.
He added: ‘It hurts to breathe, it hurts to sleep, it hurts to move from side-to-side, it hurts to eat. Please, I’m telling you, change your lives. Stick together, make some money, make everything easier for our people out there, man, because there’s so much time that’s been wasted.’
It is his first statement to the public since he was shot on August 23 by police responding to a domestic complaint 911 call, as he opened the door to a vehicle and leaned inside.
However, Blake also appeared in court via a Zoom call on Friday where he pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal trespass, sexual assault, and disorderly conduct.
The shooting of Blake has kicked off weeks of tense, and sometimes violent, protests in Kenosha, and renewed protests over racial injustice and police conduct nationwide.