Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man from Wisconsin who survived an almost deadly encounter with police on Aug. 23, 2020, is speaking out for the first time in a sit-down interview.
Blake recounted his harrowing experience in an exclusive with “Good Morning America” co-host Michael Strahan which aired Thursday, nearly five months after he was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Shesky. The shooting left him paralyzed from the waist down.
“I didn’t want to be the next George Floyd,” Blake said. “I didn’t want to die.”
Blake arrived at the house of Laquisha Booker, his children’s mother, when an argument broke out between Booker and a neighbor.
“I wanted to get them, I wanted to leave,” Blake said saying that he wanted to soothe one of his son who was celebrating his birthday. Booker then reportedly called the police, and are told there’s a warrant on Blake for domestic violence and sexual assault.
He said he didn’t react when police arrived because he didn’t think they were there for him. He says he reacted when he felt someone grab his arm, not knowing it was an officer. After a verbal confrontation, Blake and the officers end up in a physical confrontation where he’s repeatedly tased. He told Strahan he regrets picking up a pocket knife which he says dropped from his pocket during the exchange.
In the midst of the confrontation as Blake attempts to walk away and open his car door, shots ring out.
He revealed what was top of mind after he was struck lying on the ground in arms reach of his children.
“All I remember at that point was kinda leanin’ back, lookin’ at my boys. “I said, ‘Daddy, love you no matter what.’ It was the last thing I said to them, thank God it wasn’t he continued,” holding back tears.
Blake’s broken silence comes on the heels of a controversial, yet all-too familiar scenario where Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley opted against bringing forth charges in Blake’s shooting.
“We are immensely disappointed in Kenosha District Attorney Michael Gravely’s decision not to charge the officers involved in this horrific shooting. We feel this decision failed not only Jacob and his family, but the community that protested and demanded justice,” Blake’s lawyer Benjamin Crump said in response to Graveley’s inaction.
Graveley said his decision was based on his belief that Shesky was acting in self-defense after police claimed Blake was wielding a knife at the time of the incident.
“I resisted to getting beat on, and what I mean by that is not falling, not letting them put they head on my neck. That’s all I was thinking about honestly,” Blake responded to Strahan who asked if he was resisting arrest.
Blake’s shooting went viral during the height of Black Lives Matter uprisings across the country, compounded by the frightening reality of an ongoing pandemic which disproportionately affects Black people.
Days after Blake’s shooting a white supremacist named Kyle Rittenhouse, traveled to Kenosha from Antioch, Illinois, and opened fire at the protests, resulting in two deaths.
Kenosha has been under a state of emergency in the months following Blake’s shooting which heightened after Graveley’s decision was announced.
Strahan shared that Blake plans to file a civil suit against the Kenosha Police Department as a result his case.