“So many people have reached out to me saying they’re sorry that this has been happening to my family. Well don’t be sorry because this has been happening to my family for a long time, longer than I can account for,” Letetra Wideman said Tuesday. “It happened to Emmett Till, Emmett Till is my family. It happened to Philando, Mike Brown, Sandra.”
“I don’t want your pity,” Wideman said. “I want change.”
Blake’s three sisters, his father and his mother spoke Tuesday, the day the 29-year-old Black man underwent surgery for the close-range gunshot wounds he sustained as he tried to enter his SUV after attempting to break up a fight, according to family attorney Benjamin Crump. As he fought for his life, his family reflected on the part he has played in theirs and called for justice for the violence he suffered.
“They shot my son seven times, seven times. Like he didn’t matter. But my son matters. He’s a human being and he matters,” his father, Jacob Blake, Sr., said.
The man who was shot is, by his family’s description, a man who is an active and loving father.
“His kids are his world. But not only that, his family is his world,” another one of his sisters, Zietha Blake, said. “He’s upset because we’re hurt, we’re upset. He doesn’t even care about himself. He’s more so worried about us.”
Blake’s three sons, ages 3, 5 and 8, were in the car when he was shot, Crump said. CNN has not independently confirmed this.
“I’m the baby, I’m his Meagle Beagle. He was my light,” said his sister Megan Belcher. “You all took him from his family. You all stood by and let it happen.”
As Blake’s mother prays for his healing, she said, she is praying that the country heals as well.
“Citizens, police officers, firemen, clergy, politicians, do Jacob justice on this level and examine your hearts,” Julia Jackson said. “We need healing.”
Any violence that broke out in the protests after Blake was shot does not represent who he is, she said. And the hate for different people goes against the best interest of the nation, she said.
“We are the United States, have we been united?” Jackson said. “America is great when we behave greatly.”
Attorney said he was breaking up a fight
Blake suffered multiple injuries, including a gunshot wound to one arm, damage to his kidney, liver and spinal cord, said Patrick Salvi Jr., another family attorney.
“He had a bullet go through some or all of his spinal cord, at least one bullet. He has holes in his stomach. He had to have nearly his entire colon and small intestines removed,” Salvi added, saying the family will file a civil lawsuit against the police department over the shooting.
A 24-second video obtained by CNN shows Blake struggling with police officers near the back of his SUV as a group of individuals surrounds them. Blake then walks around the front of the vehicle followed by two officers and approaches the driver’s door moments before the shooting, according to the video.
It’s unclear what prompted the interaction. According to Crump, police had already used a Taser on Blake before the shooting.
The incident took place on Sunday when officers responded to a domestic disturbance call in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Crump, who represents many families whose loved ones were shot by police, including Floyd’s, said Blake was leaving the scene after “breaking up a fight between two women.”
Raysean White, who filmed the video that’s been viewed millions of times, said two women were arguing when Blake arrived and ordered one of his sons into a vehicle. Blake then walked into a home behind a woman, White said.
“As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident. We ask that you withhold from passing judgment until all the facts are known and released,” said Pete Deates, president of the Kenosha Professional Police Association.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Letetra Wideman's last name.