Who is Jacob Blake?

Jacob Blake; you may have heard his name on the news, on the media, or even on someone’s instagram story. On Sunday evening August 23rd in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Blake was shot a total of seven times in the back. Blake did not have a weapon on or near him, he was not resisting arrest, but most importantly, Jacob Blake was not a threat. According to information from CNN, Kenosha officers were called at 5:11 pm in relation to a domestic incident. As stated by the Wisconsin Department of Justice and Division of Criminal Investigation, the woman who made the call to the officers had said that “her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises” Another call was made to police saying that Mr.Blake was not supposed at the girlfriend’s house. Once police reached their destination, DCI stated that police attempted to tase Blake. Jacob then walks around his car to the driver’s side. In fact, in videos of Jacob Blake all over the internet that have been viewed thousands of times, you are able to see Blake walking around a gray SUV and opening the driver’s car door. Blake is seen leaning inside the vehicle when officer Rusten Sheskey grabs Jacob’s tank top he is wearing and proceeds to shoot him. Officers say that 5 minutes prior to the initial starting of the report, another dispatcher received a report of shots fired. Additionally, DCI stated that only one officer fired their weapon. Local police have claimed that Blake was attempting to get his three kids that were in his vehicle out of a “Volatile Situation” and forcefully fought the officers, according to CNN. The Kenosha Professional Police Association also came out with new information saying that Blake was armed with a knife and was found laying on the floorboard of his vehicle. The Winsonsin Department of Justice has stated that Blake “admitted that he had a knife in his possession” on Sunday August 23rd.

Although Jacob Blake was shot seven times, he was able to fight through the pain and is now recovering at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. Lawyers that are representing Mr.Blake say that one bullet at the minimum went through his spinal cord; resulting in Jacob being paralyzed. Blake has holes in his stomach along with a damaged liver and kidney. His colon and intestine were removed as well. Blake is in severe need of surgeries, which he did undergo surgery on Tuesday, August 25th. In Spite of Mr.Blake being paralyzed, his leg is handcuffed to the bars of his hospital bed. According to CBS News, a criminal complaint on July 6th was filed against Blake. He was accused of sexually assaulting his ex girlfriend, who he has three kids with. As claimed by Winsocnsin Circuit Court records, Blake was charged with a third-degree felony, sexual assault, a misdemeanor of criminal trespassing, and a misdemeanor of disorderly conduct; resulting in him being handcuffed to his hospital bed.

Seeing the very sensitive and raw video of Jacob Blake; another black innocent man receiving police brutality just because of his skin color, had people in the media going mad and quickly struck protesters. Just days after the shooting occured, Kenosha’s protests only got larger. Massive amounts of people gathered in downtown Kenosha to denounce the police, according to CNN. Many protesters acted in violence as they abused and torched buildings, cars, and windows. Businesses were looted. Most of the businesses in downtown Kenosha put up signs like “Black-owned business” or “Kids live upstairs”. On the fourth night in a row of straight protests, it would finally become more calmer. According to NPR, this time, the protest gathering had decreased compared to previous protests and was exceedingly more peaceful. According to Kenosha News, there was another peaceful protest held at Kenosha’s County Courthouse on Monday September 14, 2020. Other states have also joined in protesting for Jacob Blake as well. Over 200 people in Northampton, Massachusetts marched for Jacob Blake and walked from Sheldon Field to the Northampton Police Station. This walk is roughly nine miles. Another protest in Philadelphia had hundreds of people coming together at a rally just outside of Philadelphia's city hall demanding there be justice for Blake.

Just like other police brutalities we’ve seen this year for example, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and most locally Elijah McClain, the shooting of Jacob Blake made so many people angry, hurt, and afraid for what might just happen next.

Bella Romano’22 gives her opinion on how the shooting makes her feel. She says, “I’m sick of it; the stuff that’s happening, I do not think seven shots was justifiable no matter what crimes he’s committed before” Bella also says the shooting has opened her eyes to how the police system actually works. “It’s not catered to minority groups, it’s more catered to white people and so it did open my eyes to what systems are also flawed”

“It definitely makes me feel angry and I think it’s not okay that it could happen” Says Loeghen Castilian’22.

Fundraisers have been set up for Jacob Blake, but the question is, how much will people support Mr.Blake in getting him the justice that he deserves? It all depends on us and how much we are willing to fight. Currently, residents have gathered together to help recover the city and rebuild it again after the protests. So far people have painted murals on boarded-up storefronts in downtown Kenosha. They’ve also been displaying messages on the murals that say “Kenosha strong” and “love is the answer”.

Story By: Hannah Trollope '22