Blake says ‘hurts to breathe’ from hospital bed

WASHINGTON • Jacob Blake, the young black man shot in the back multiple times by a white police officer in Wisconsin, said “it hurts to breathe” and that he was in constant pain in a video message from his hospital bed.

Despite his injuries, which will likely leave him paralysed from the waist down, Blake told his supporters “there’s a lot more life to live”.

“Your life, and not only just your life, your legs — something that you need to move around and forward in life — can be taken from you like this, man,” Blake said, snapping his fingers, in the video released on Saturday by his lawyer Ben Crump. Wearing a hospital gown, Blake said he had staples in his back and stomach.

“Twenty-four hours, every 24 hours, it’s pain, it’s nothing but pain,” he said.

“It hurts to breathe, it hurts to sleep, it hurts to move from side-to-side, it hurts to eat,” he said in the video, which has more than 400,000 views on Twitter.

“Please, I’m telling you, change your lives out there. We can stick together, make some money, make everything easier for our people out there, man, because there’s so much time that’s been wasted.”

The 29-year-old was gravely wounded when a policeman fired seven or eight shots at him as he tried to get into his car on Aug 23 in Kenosha, in the Midwestern state of Wisconsin. Three of his children were in the car at the time.

The scene was filmed by bystanders and the two police officers, who were trying to stop or arrest Blake, have been suspended.

Coming three months after the death of George Floyd, Blake’s shooting has touched off a new round of demonstrations in several cities.

Protests in Kenosha began peacefully the night Blake was shot, but descended into violence for several nights running.

It culminated on Aug 25 when two people were shot dead. A 17-year-old white Trump supporter has been arrested and charged with murder.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden spoke with Blake by phone last Thursday and met with his family. — AFP