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A Black man who was shot multiple times by a Kenosha police officer last summer, is still in pain “90 percent” of the day, according to family members.
Blake was paraylzed from the waist down on Aug. 23, 2020 after being shot seven times in the back by officer Rusten Sheskey. On the one-year anniversary of the police shooting, Blake, now 30, his family says he is struggling to regain control over his life.
“He’s our hero, this guy gets up and goes to therapy in tremendous amount of pain 90 percent of the day, everyday,” Blake’s uncle, Justin Blake told WGN-TV.
Sheskey opened fire on Blake during a domestic disturbance call. Police, who claimed Blake had a knife, shot him as he was getting into his vehicle. His two children were in the back seat.
Blake underwent extensive spinal rehabilitation therapy following the shooting. He’s now confined to a wheelchair and remains bedridden some days, relatives said.
“It’s unreal,” Justin Blake also told Wisconsin Public Radio. “He goes through pain every day, he can’t even get out of the bed some days. It’s miserable. Even on the best days.”
Blake’s struggle is also a financial drain. The 30-year-old, who requires around the clock medical care, doesn’t have health insurance. Friends and family have raised money to cover the cost of his care.
“Any way you chop it up, it’s not a good life,” Justin Blake said.
Blake’s family celebrated his 30th birthday earlier this spring. On Saturday, they joined with activists to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the shooting.
“I hold out faith that God will do what needs to be done, and I’m very thankful that my son can answer the phone when I call,” his father, Jacob Blake Sr., told WGN. “That I can hear his voice and I can feel his skin on the side of my face.”
Wisconsin Governor, Tony Evers, also issued a statement on Monday acknowledging the somber milestone.
“One year ago today, Jacob Blake’s life was forever changed,” Evers said. “While we are grateful Jacob survived his injuries, we also know Jacob, his kids, and his family have and will face challenges they never imagined having to endure.”
Since Blake was shot, Evers said the state has worked on boosting transparency around officer-involved shootings, and implemented reforms to use of force policies, including limitations on chokeholds.
Sheskey wasn’t charged in Blake’s shooting. He returned to duty in April after several months of being on administrative leave. But his future with the Kenosha Police Department is unclear.
"Where he ends up for sure, permanently, is unsure,” Police Chief Eric Larsen told Wisconsin Public Radio. “I’m still thinking on that. Clearly, there are still members of the community that feel he should be fired and charged. Ultimately, the goal would be to put him on the road, but the future is not certain at this point, which makes it difficult for him."
Blake’s shooting sparked fierce demonstrations locally and nationwide, including one in which Wisconsin teen Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two protesters. Rittenhouse has been linked to white supremacist militia members.
Ben Crump, Blake’s family attorney, wasn’t immediately available for comment when contacted by Oxygen.com on Tuesday.
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