Jacob Blake, the Black man shot in the back seven times by Wisconsin police, is a 29-year-old father of six nowfrom his injuries, his family lawyers have said. While there are conflicting details surrounding Blake’s arrest, his family has offered a snapshot into the life of Blake, who finds himself at the center of the in America.
Blake grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, before moving to Evanston, Illinois, for middle school, his father told the Chicago Sun-Times. Looking for a fresh start, Blake moved to Kenosha, where he’s lived for three years, his family said.
“It was a safer location. He could work and try to save and build a better life,” his uncle, Justin Blake, told the Chicago Tribune. He said Blake loves music, architecture and sports, and he played football and basketball in high school.
His grandfather, Reverend Jacob Blake Sr, was a pastor at Ebenezer AME Church in Evanston during the 1960s and 70s and has a history of activism, serving as a local leader in the civil rights movement, the Chicago Tribune reported. Following the murder of Martin Luther King Jr., Reverend Blake organized marches against racial discrimination in housing.
Several of Blake’s 12 siblings spoke about their brother at a news conference. “I’m not crying because I’m sad, I’m crying because I know how upset he is that his family’s upset right now,” his sister, Megan Belcher said. “Because his family is hurting. He loves his family.”
His sister, Zietha Blake, shared the tight bond she has with her sibling who she calls her twin. “We got a lot of insiders, a lot of things just between us because we are like this,” she said.
Julia Jackson, Blake’s mother, described her only biological son as the comedian of the family. “Jacob is the one in the family who will make everyone have belly laughs,” she told CBS News. “He loves to joke, he loves to be with his children.”
“He loves his family, he is a peacemaker. So when it was said that he was breaking up a fight – when I heard that versus the other things I heard, I’m like, okay, this sounds like Jacob trying to intervene and get some peace between two people,” Jackson said.
Blake was shot on August 23 after officers were dispatched for a caller who reported that her boyfriend, who was not supposed to be on her premises, was present, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Officials did not specify what role Blake played in the original incident, but family attorney Benjamin Crump said he was attempting to break up a domestic dispute.
The local police union claims Blake was not breaking up a dispute and instead, officers were responding to a complaint that Blake was trying to steal a vehicle. The shooting is being investigated by the state’s Department of Justice and is the subject of a civil rights probe.
Blake has previously been accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, with whom he has three children. A criminal complaint was filed against Blake on July 6, charging him with felony third-degree sexual assault, misdemeanor criminal trespassing, and misdemeanor disorderly conduct, according to Wisconsin Circuit Court records.
Blake was hospitalized from his injuries, and police said Blake was initially secured to his hospital bed with restraints because of those charges. The restraints were later removed and an arrested warrant was dropped when Blake posted bond.
A GoFundMe account set up by family members has surpassed $2 million in donations. The funds will go toward Blake’s “medical bills, legal representation, support for his children should he not be able to continue working, and therapy for his children who have been traumatized by these events.”
Justin Carissimo, Graham Kates and Mola Lenghi contributed to this report.