The father of Jacob Blake, the Black man shot seven times in the back in 2020 by a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer, was briefly hospitalized last week after attending a protest in Ohio and getting into an altercation with local cops who were trying to arrest him.
On Wednesday, July 6, Jacob Blake Sr. was taken to a hospital after officers sought to arrest him and other demonstrators in downtown Akron at the scene of a protest over the killing of Jayland Walker by Akron police last month. Blake and other activists with a group called Families United had traveled to Ohio from their respective states — Blake lives in North Carolina — to join protests sparked this week by the recent release of police bodycam video showing how Walker was gunned down by a barrage of fire from eight Akron officers at the end of a car chase.
NBC reports that Justin Blake, Blake Sr.’s brother, says Blake Sr. and other Families United members were sitting in a van when they a man being punched and kicked by police at the demonstration for Walker. Justin Blake says the group approached the scene to object to the man’s treatment, which led to Blake Sr.’s run-in with the cops and onset of an apparent seizure.
He was rushed to the emergency room with was admitted as a patient. Since then, he has been released, and by the weekend he was speaking out about the encounter and his message of police accountability at a rally in Akron.
“They beat me into a seizure,” a video posted to Twitter shows Blake Sr. telling the gathered crowd on Saturday. “I don’t know what happened next. When I woke up next, I woke up more determined than ever,” Blake continued
However, while he was not jailed, the Akron Police Department issued a warrant for the man’s arrest. Court records charge Blake Sr., a man who has been activated since his son’s was shot two years ago, with four counts that include rioting, resisting arrest, failing to disperse and disorderly conduct.
On August 23, 2020, Blake Sr.’s son Jacob Blake Jr. was shot seven times by Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey as officers struggled to arrest Blake, leaving him paralyzed. Like so many other police-involved shootings that year, that event sparked days of protests and civil unrest after footage of the incident went viral.
Blake Sr.’s brother told Madison.com he believes the charges were ridiculous. “They were there to unite the community and family and to get justice, before they were attacked.”
“He wasn’t resisting arrest,” he continued. “He was leaning on the fence for a respite. He’s handicapped.”
A video of the ordeal that caught Blake Sr. and other activists’ attention on Wednesday was captured by Bianca Austin, an aunt of Breonna Taylor. Austin and Blake Sr. are both part of Families United.
The clip shows a Black man later identified as justice organizer Michael Harris being slammed against a wall, car and dragged to the ground as cops try to detain him. An officer is seen hitting Harris in the face, while his colleagues swarm around Harris, holding him firmly.
An image of Harris’ busted lip and head emerged on social media.
The video also shows one officer gripping Blake Sr. by his arm and him getting detained.
Viewers can see that Blake Sr., a plus sized man, is winded and appears to be having trouble breathing as he is being detained before being slammed on Austin’s car.
Justin Blake stated, “They were making a statement, and they used all these people as examples. They’re showing they are a brutal police force.”
On Wednesday, after Blake Sr. was taken to the hospital, Austin was arrested by the APD.
The three who were arrested, which included Minnesota activist Cortez Rice, were kept in the custody of the Summit County jail.
Activist social media user Jolly Good Ginger reports Austin and Rice’s bonds were $2,500 each, while Harris’ bond was $5,000.
The Ginger also secured legal representation for the lot through the Ohio National Lawyers Guild, a group that serves social justice and equity cases.