Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back at close range by law enforcement, spoke for the first time from his hospital bed. With Blake still in the hospital, protests for racial justice continued to shake American cities. In a video posted on social media, Blake, dressed in a green hospital gown, Blake described feeling constant pain after being paralyzed from the waist down.
“I have staples in my back, staples in my damn stomach,” he said in the video posted by his attorney, Ben Crump, on Saturday night. “It hurts to breathe, it hurts to sleep, it hurts to move from one place to another, it hurts to eat.”
“Your life is not just your life; your legs, the ones you need to move around, can be taken from you,” he added.
The Aug. 23 shooting of 29-year-old Blake has been one of many tragic stories that have led to protests of those who are speaking out against racism and police brutality. Issues that have plagued America for years. With one of the most heartbreaking stories this year being that of George Floyd, who was killed after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. The demonstrations have coincided with widespread unrest over the social and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed nearly 190,000 people in the country, the highest death toll in the world.
The protests have also become a focus of attention in President Donald Trump’s campaign for re-election on Nov. 3. At the start of a long Labor Day weekend on Monday, police in Rochester, New York, used tear gas to disperse about 2,000 protesters on the fourth night of riots over the death of Daniel Prude, a black man who died after a police action in March. Nine people were arrested and three police officers were treated at local hospitals for injuries sustained during the clashes, the Rochester Police Department said Sunday.
In Louisville, Kentucky, armed police supporters clashed with protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement on Saturday before the famous Kentucky Derby horse race. Louisville has become a flash point due to outrage over the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman who was killed in March by police, who broke into her apartment using an arrest warrant that did not require them to be announced.
The violent clashes also rocked the city of Portland, Oregon, for the hundredth day overnight. The protesters threw stones and firebombs at the police, who in turn used tear gas, leaving at least one person injured and more than 50 arrests.
According to reports, Blake made a virtual court appearance from his hospital bed on Friday. In addition, his attorney submitted not guilty pleas to charges unrelated to the incident that took place on Aug. 23. Including third-degree sexual assault, misdemeanor criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.