Jacob Blake, the unarmed Black man who was shot in the back by police in Wisconsin last month, gave a powerful message from his hospital bed on Saturday, detailing the 24-hour pain he now endures.

"It hurts to breathe. It hurts to sleep. It hurts to move from side to side. It hurts to eat" he explained to his attorney, who uploaded the video to Twitter. Watch it below.

This was Blake's second public appearance since he was hospitalized. Last week, he appeared in court via video where he pleaded not guilty to unrelated criminal charges.

Since police shot Blake in August, protests have erupted across Kenosha. The incident became a rallying cry for demonstrators and residents of the Wisconsin city, who took to the streets to demand change after decades of pain and inaction. 

Blake's shooting set into motion a chain of events that have cost lives. It also gives yet another stark look at what systemic racism actually looks like. The brief breakdown below highlights, yet again, why it is so important to vote in the upcoming election.

What happened in Kenosha?

The shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday, Aug. 23, set off a series of protests that lead to three straight nights of unrest. Downtown Kenosha, storefronts and vehicles were damaged and the state parole office was burned to the ground.

According to an NPR report, though some residents lament the violence and destruction that left their city damaged or destroyed, many said they understand the anger and frustration that led to it.

“We haven’t had a huge event like this, something where we’ve really had to have a conversation about race,” said Tim Thompkins, a former affirmative action officer for the city of Kenosha. “That’s why we’re going to have such difficulty.”

What did Kyle Rittenhouse do?

During that protest, a video surfaced that appeared to show a male, armed with AR-15-style, fatally shoot two people and injure another. That shooter is believed to be Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year old Antioch, Ill., resident and “a Minuteman protecting his community when the government would not,” according to his lawyer.

How did the president respond?

President Trump appeared to defend Rittenhouse last week, saying, "He was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like." Trump also noted that the incident was under investigation. "I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would have been killed."

Many analysts predict that Rittenhouse will get off, despite the fact that he was in violation of Chapter 948.6 of Wisconsin law when he, a minor, brandished a weapon of war. Nevertheless, under the current weapons and self-defense laws, it appears that Rittenhouse could walk.

During a news conference, the president said he didn't feel reaching out to Blake's family would be appropriate. "Well, I spoke to the (family's) pastor ... and I thought it would be better not to do anything where there were lawyers involved. They wanted me to speak. They wanted to have lawyers involved and I thought that was inappropriate, so I didn't do that. But I did speak with the pastor of the family."

How does the treatment of Blake and Rittenhouse differ?

Kenosha police allowed Kyle Rittenhouse to walk away on the night prosecutors say he killed two protesters and injured a third with an AR-15-style rifle, even though he has been linked to white supremacist groups.

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, a Milwaukee Democrat, compared this to the treatment of Jacob Blake. "The same police department who shot an unarmed black man 7 times in the back for walking away from them just let an armed white supremacist walk right past them after shooting people," she tweeted.

Police brutality has cost countless Black lives, and few of those deaths have resulted in the arrest of the officers involved. Over the last months, the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor has appeared in the news, yet her family are still pushing for criminal charges against the officers who shot her.

Blake's video, detailing the extent of his injuries at the hands of police, particularly in contrast to Rittenhouse offers undeniable evidence that the police system is broken and that the current administration is too out of touch to change it. For further information on Kenosha, John Oliver's video below is a worthwhile watch.

VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. 

Below we've outlined some steps you can take today.

For more:

  1. Voting Is the Biggest Flex of 2020, Here’s How to Do It Right
  2. Here's How to Demand Justice for Breonna Taylor
  3. Here’s how you can support protestors
  4. 10 anti-racism accounts to help you stay informed
  5. A simple guide to protesting safely

 

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