The Slatest

Jacob Blake Speaks Out for First Time Since Kenosha Police Shooting: “It Hurts to Breathe”

Family members of Jacob Blake march with supporters to the Kenosha County Courthouse on August 29, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Family members of Jacob Blake march with supporters to the Kenosha County Courthouse on August 29, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Jacob Blake, the Black man who was shot multiple times in the back by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin last month, spoke publicly about how he is doing for the first time, releasing a video from his hospital bed. In a video posted by one of his attorneys, Ben Crump, late on Saturday, Blake, who was dressed in a hospital gown, described how he is in constant pain from the shooting that doctors say could leave him paralyzed from the waist down. “I got staples in my back, staples in my damn stomach,” the 29-year-old says in the video. “It hurts to breathe, it hurts to sleep, it hurts to move from side to side, it hurts to eat.”

During the 57-second video, Blake said “there’s a lot more life to live” and warned that everyone needs to realize how quickly things can change. “Your life and not only just your life, your legs ― something that you need to move around and move forward in life ― could be taken from you like this,” Blake said while snapping his fingers. That realization should push people to change how they live their lives. “Please, I’m telling you: Change y’all lives out there,” he said. “We can stick together, make some money, make everything easier for our people out here, man. Because so much time has been wasted.”

The video marked the second-ever public appearance for Blake, whose shooting sparked widespread protests. Blake made his first public appearance on Friday when he appeared in court from his hospital bed. He was charged in July with third-degree sexual assault, which is a felony, as well as criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, which are misdemeanors. His attorney entered not guilty pleas on the three charges. Blake spoke briefly with the judge during the appearance on the charges that are unrelated to the August 23 shooting.