Jacob Blake breaks silence a year after shooting: ‘Don’t have physical strength to be upset’

"I can't really explain the feeling ... it was out of body," says Blake, noting depressive symptoms worsen his pain.

One year after being shot seven times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Jacob Blake, Jr. has spoken out about his life since the shooting. 

Blake told CNN that this year, visiting the Chicago area over the Fourth of July weekend, he called 911 after suffering an anxiety attack triggered by the sound of fireworks — a mental episode exacerbated by physical pain. 

“I’m hearing these booms [fireworks],” he said, “and it’s not scaring me because I got shot; it’s scaring me because all of those people have gotten shot, so every time a boom went off, I’m kind of imagining people dying.”

Blake says he suffers from anxiety and depression, but that the depressive symptoms make his physical pain worse, adding, “I don’t have the physical strength to be upset.”

Jacob Blake, Jr., who hopes to be walking again soon, has spoken out about his life since his shooting a year ago by Kenosha, Wisconsin police. He’s been paralyzed from the waist down since. (CNN)

He recalled watching footage of himself being shot on Aug. 23, 2020 and the subsequent protests that took place in Kenosha in the aftermath.

“I can’t really explain the feeling … it was out of body,” he said. “I felt like I was floating for a while, watching everything happen. It blew my mind that they were that mad about it, that people care about it, that they care about me.”

As previously reported, on the one-year anniversary of the father of six’s shooting, activists gathered in Kenosha to mark the infamous event and advocate for change. 

At the rally, Blake’s father, Jacob Blake, Sr., took to the stage to speak to supporters.

“We must seek a justice system that is just for all,” he said. “The lady holding that scale has a blindfold on. But when it comes to us, she doesn’t have a blindfold on. So if we don’t get equal justice in the community, then we get nothing. We’re not asking, we’re demanding, that all Brown people are treated as our Caucasian counterparts.”

Blake was shot by Kenosha Officer Rusten Sheskey, who fired at Blake after responding to a domestic violence incident in which authorities say Blake turned from his car with a knife in his hand.

In a statement four months later, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely announced “no Kenosha law enforcement officer will be charged with any criminal offense based on the facts and laws” and declared Blake’s shooting “justified.” 

Sheskey has since returned to active duty. 

Jacob Blake Jr. thegrio.com
Jacob Blake Jr. speaks to GMA about being shot by a police officer seven times (Credit: Good Morning America/screenshot)

The U.S. Attorney’s Office representing the Eastern District of Wisconsin is currently conducting a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting. 

In addition to talking about his injuries, Blake said he frequently thinks about Kyle Rittenhouse, the white teen who traveled to Kenosha armed with an AR-15 to “guard” public property and ultimately shot three people, killing two. 

“For the reasons they said they shot me, they had every reason to shoot him, but they didn’t,” Blake contends. “Honestly, if his skin color was different, and I’m not prejudiced or a racist, he probably would have been labeled a terrorist.”

Blake is one of the co-founders of Edifye, a non-profit created after the nearby Milwaukee Bucks refused to leave their tunnel before an NBA game in the summer of 2020 in protest of his shooting. 

The organization works to raise money for communal bail and legal funds, organize community events, combat modern redlining and more, in part through partnerships with professional athletes.

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