On August 23, 2020, police officers of Kenosha, Wisconsin, were responding to a domestic incident. Jacob Blake was attempting to break up a fight among two women, but police officers wanted to stop him and attempted to use a taser to do so. Blake then walked around his car and opened the driver’s side door while being followed by officers. Officer Rusten Sheskey fired his gun 7 times into Blake’s back. There were three children in the back of the car at the time of the shooting. Blake was rushed to the hospital and underwent successful surgery, but bullets that injured his spinal cord left him partially paralyzed. Blake should not have gone to his car without listening to the police officers, but his actions should not have hospitalized him. Officer Sheskey unjustly used lethal force against Blake, and police officers in general should not use excessive force unless they are truly threatened by their suspect. There is also no reason for Blake to be restrained to his hospital bed because he is already paralyzed from the waist down.
Overall, the inhumane treatment of the paralyzed Jacob Blake is unjust; he should have complied with the officers’ orders, but there were definitely alternatives to shooting him multiple times in his back. Police officers should not decide whether their suspects die or not, and Blake should not be restrained to his hospital bed.
The Factors Of The Gunfire
Blake definitely should have complied with the officers’ orders. They warned him multiple times verbally, but that was ineffective. However, they outnumbered him; therefore, it should have been easy to pin him down and then handcuff him, which would have undoubtedly been better than what really happened. To restrain him, officers even could have tased him to shock and stun him and proceeded to handcuff him if necessary. The officers should have been mindful of the three children in Blake’s car, and there was no need for the officers to draw their firearms. Even pepper spray could have been enough to keep Blake under control. Although he did not comply, Blake’s shooting is unjust because of the numerous methods the police officers could have used in place of their guns.
The Unjust Aspects
Even after being hospitalized and paralyzed, Blake was restrained to his hospital bed for a week. Blake was unable to move from the waist down, so restraining him was unreasonable. Although he is unshackled now, his history should have nothing to do with his current condition. Another unjust aspect is the seven shots fired into Blake’s back. Due to this excessive force, Blake has suffered a damaged spinal cord, spine, stomach, kidneys, and liver. He has also lost most of his colon and has no bowel or genital function. A maximum of one or two shots should have been fired if it had been absolutely necessary; however, in this case, there should have been no shots fired because of the available alternatives. Police officers should not try to kill suspects, as they have no right to decide whether their suspect dies or not because of their actions. They should have solely restrained Blake, and he is extremely lucky to still be alive.
Many have risen to take action and bring awareness to the shooting of Jacob Blake. Notably, the NBA’s teams mindfully postponed their playoff games to bring awareness, saying, “Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.” NBA player Donovan Mitchell even donated $45,000 to a college scholarship fund for Blake’s children, playing a key role as an activist. Other sports organizations decided to raise awareness as well, including the WNBA, MLB, and MLS. There are ways to directly help Blake’s family, such as signing a petition to arrest the officers involved in Blake’s shooting. Also, a Gofundme has started to help Blake’s family directly, as his wife and children suffered a devastating loss with Blake’s critical injuries.
Overall, Blake’s shooting is unjust because of the alternatives which were present. Not complying with the officers’ orders should not end up in being paralyzed, especially not by 7 bullets to the back. Restraining Blake to his hospital bed was unreasonable, but when people spoke out, others listened. This should apply to the Black Lives Matter Movement overall, and its changes should be enforced to prevent more unjust police brutality towards African Americans. Jacob Blake is another name to remember in addition to Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and the movement should continue to promote unity among Americans.