Jacob Blake is out of the hospital, but how long he’ll be in rehab remains a question

Jacob Blake with sons

KENOSHA, Wis. — Jacob Blake has left a Milwaukee hospital, but he’s still working to recover after repeatedly being shot by Kenosha, Wisconsin, police, his attorney said Wednesday.

The 29-year-old is “in a spinal injury rehabilitation center in Chicago,” attorney Patrick Cafferty said. “I can’t provide more details.”

He declined to say when Blake left the hospital or how long he is expected to remain in rehab.

After Blake was shot seven times during an altercation with police in August, his family initially said he was paralyzed from the waist down, and it was unclear if the condition was permanent. Attorney Ben Crump later said it would take a “miracle” for Blake to walk again.

His father told reporters that one of the first things Blake asked upon regaining consciousness in the hospital was why he had been shot so many times.

Protests and calls for reform

The shooting stoked simmering national tensions over police brutality and racial injustice, spurring a continuation of the demonstrations that had erupted around the country after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd during his May arrest.

Video showed officers trailing Blake around an SUV. As Blake enters the vehicle, one of the officers pulls the tail of his shirt before unleashing seven shots. Blake’s kids — 3, 5 and 8 — were in the car. One was celebrating his birthday.

Blake’s family has said he posed no threat to officers, and they’ve expressed doubt he will see justice in his shooting. The officers involved were placed on administrative leave.

The Kenosha Professional Police Association alleges Blake fought with officers, put one officer in a headlock and carried a knife he refused to drop.

Blake appears to have told officers that he had a knife in his possession, the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s division of criminal investigation has said. Investigators later “recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard” of Blake’s vehicle, the agency said.

Another Blake family attorney, Patrick Salvi Jr., has refuted the police defense, saying officers had ample time to make the right decision.

“At no point in time was Jacob’s momentum toward the officers, and what you see is that the officer is pulling on his shirt and then fires those seven bullets into Jacob’s back. If he was concerned that Jacob had a knife, why wouldn’t he back away?” the lawyer asked.

Jacob Blake Sr. has repeatedly issued demands for police reform in the wake of his son’s shooting.

“If we’re not talking about laws of reform — immediately reforming some of these police — then really I don’t want to speak to you at all,” he told CNN last month.

‘It hurts to breathe’

In August, Blake delivered a message from his hospital bed, reminding his supporters that life can change in an instant.

“Your life and not only just your life, your legs — something that you need to move around, to move forward in life — can be taken like this, man,” he said, snapping his fingers.

Blake had staples in his back and stomach at the time, and said his pain was constant.

“It hurts to breathe. It hurts to sleep. It hurts to move side to side. It hurts to eat,” he said. “You do not want to have to deal with this.”

Days earlier, he donned a dress shirt and tie for his first court appearance on charges related to an alleged assault that preceded his shooting. He pleaded not guilty to third-degree sexual assault, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. A judge approved a $10,000 signature bond and scheduled his next appearance for October 21.