Jacob Blake is a 29-year-old black man. Father of six children between 3 and 13 years old, engaged to Laquisha Booker. He moved to Kenosha, Wisconsin, because he believed it was safer there. Sunday afternoon, he found that this had been counted without the police. A white cop shot him seven times in the back. Eight times, according to the victim’s father. Blake’s three sons watched the drama happen from the car, which their daddy wanted to get behind the wheel.
Jacob Blake was trying to solve an argument between two women, according to eyewitnesses, when the police arrived on the scene shortly after 5 pm on Sunday afternoon and apparently had to have him.
Kenosha police do not wear body cams, but footage of the horrific incident soon circulated the Internet. It shows Blake ignoring the screaming officers, at least two of whom were drawing their weapons and stepping undisturbed to the driver’s side of his car. Suddenly, one of the officers, who was holding Blake by his sleeveless T-shirt, fired seven bullets from very close range into the back of the black man who was himself unarmed. There is now more information about the shooting and about who Jacob Blake is.
Three of Blake’s sons (3, 5, and 8 years old) were in the SUV. The family had gone to celebrate the eight-year-old’s birthday. Blake’s fiancé, Laquisha Booker, also saw the cruel scenario play out before her eyes. According to Raysean White, the man who filmed everything had just come to a skirmish between Blake and the police. Blake was tagged, beaten, and restrained. Until he apparently got up and started to drive away. Officers shouted Blake had a knife, but White never saw that. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said yesterday that there was no evidence that Blake was carrying a knife or other weapon, but the investigation is still ongoing.
The gravely injured man in his twenties survived the attempt on his life. His condition is now stable after an operation. The agents involved have been put on hold for the time being. Riots broke out in Kenosha against racism and excessive police violence. And beyond, from San Diego to New York.
Jacob Blake, 29, grew up as a boy in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, says his father, also known as Jacob Blake. He called his son a “happy little fellow” with his seven brothers and five sisters. As a teenager, Jacob Blake attended school in Evanston, near Chicago, Illinois, where his family had long been active in community work.
As an adult, Jacob Blake moved about 56 miles (90 km) to Kenosha, a town of about 100,000 in the state of Wisconsin between Milwaukee and Chicago on Lake Michigan. About 11 percent of the population is black, 17 percent Hispanic, and 67 percent white. The mayor, police chief, and prosecutor are white. The situation between the black population and the police have been very tense for years, on both sides.
Jacob Blake had moved to Kenosha about three years ago, according to his uncle Justin Blake, because it was said to be a “safer location”. “He could find work there and try to save money and build a better life,” said his uncle.
Blake is a true family man who takes good care of his children, says Blake’s neighbor, Donnell Lauderdale. Just before the police shot him, Blake had brought gifts to Lauderdale’s eight-year-old son. Also, according to his own father, he was very generous: “If you needed something and Jacob had it, he gives it to you”.
But the victim of excessive police violence was also apparently wanted by the police, Insider reports. On July 6, Jacob Blake was charged with trespassing and domestic and sexual assault, criminal offenses he allegedly committed on May 3. It is not clear whether the officers were aware of the arrest warrant against Blake at the time of the serious incident on Sunday, nor what could have prompted them to use the excessive force.
Justin Blake has nothing but kind words for his cousin in the Chicago Tribune newspaper. “He has a great personality and loves people. A young, lively man, just like his father, my brother.” According to his uncle, Blake was still in touch with his previous home in Evanston, where his roots lie. Jacob Blake’s grandfather, also called Jacob Blake, was a pastor in Evanston and a local leader in the civil rights movement, according to the Chicago Tribune archives. He actively stood up for the right to affordable housing in Evanston.
Jacob Blake himself is a volunteer at Black Urban Recycling in Chicago, an organization of his uncle. The latter recycle cans to raise money for charity. Among others at veterans’ associations. “They love it when he comes by because he is always polite and cheerful,” said his uncle at the Chicago Tribune.
In high school in Evanston, Blake was a football and basketball player. Besides sports, he also liked music and architecture, Justin Blake recalls. He hopes that his cousin will recover well and live a full life.
According to his father, Jacob Blake is currently paralyzed from the waist down. The doctors cannot yet say whether this situation is permanent. According to Blake’s father, his son turned out to have “eight holes” in his body.
“I want to be able to put my hand on my son’s cheek and kiss him on the forehead. Then it’s good for me,” concludes Jacob Blake senior who travels from Charlotte, North Carolina to Kenosha. “I’ll kiss him with my mask on. The first thing I want to do is touch him.”