Jacob Blake’s mother issued a powerful and emotional statement yesterday during a press conference discussing the riots and protests that have emerged in the wake of her son’s shooting.
“We need prayers,” Julia Jackson said as she fought back tears. Addressing the riots and subsequent shootings and fatalities that have resulted, Jackson denounced such activities and says her son would not be pleased.
“It doesn’t reflect my son or my family,” Jackson began. “If Jacob knew what was going on, as far as the violence and destruction, he would be very (displeased). So, I’m asking and encouraging everyone in Wisconsin and abroad, to take a moment and examine your hearts,” she said.
“Citizens, police officers, fireman, clergy, politicians. Do Jacob justice on this level and examine your hearts.”
Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times during an incident with Kenosha, Wisconsin police officers. According to the BBC:
Kenosha Police Department said the “officer-involved shooting” happened shortly after 17:00 on 23 August.
Police said they were responding to a domestic incident, but so far it is unclear who called the police, how many officers were involved, and what happened before the shooting. Police in Kenosha do not have body cameras, although they do have microphones.
Lawyers for Mr Blake said he had been trying to “de-escalate a domestic incident” when police drew their weapons
The person who shot the video, Raysean White, told CNN that before he began filming, he saw police wrestle, punch and Taser Mr Blake.
It was then he started recording. Mr Blake is shown walking around the front of the SUV. The two officers closest to Mr Blake at this point on the video are white males.
As he opens the door and leans into the car, one officer can be seen grabbing his shirt and opening fire. Seven shots can be heard in the video, as witnesses shout and scream.
Mr White told the AP news agency that he heard police officers shout “Drop the knife!” before gunfire erupted, but said he didn’t see a knife in Mr Blake’s hands.
Police said that officers had provided immediate aid to Mr Blake, who was taken to a hospital in Milwaukee afterwards.
“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,” Jacob Blake Sr. said about the shooting of his son.
Before the Blake family began their press conference Tuesday afternoon, attorney Ben Crump introduced Pastor James E. Ward, Jr., the pastor of Blake’s family for more than 30 years, to lead the group of assembled family members, attorneys and media representatives in prayer.
Ward explained that at Blake’s mother’s request and at Attorney Crump’s request, he wanted to set the tone of the press conference by briefly representing their faith in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and offer a brief word of prayer.
“There are three types of law that govern a nation,” Ward said before praying. “Spiritual law, moral law, and civil law. But we are only familiar with civil law, and we are often ignorant of the ramifications of violating spiritual and moral law, which civil law alone cannot remedy.”
“When these spiritual and moral foundations are destroyed, societies implode. People hurt each other. And what can the righteous do? So we’re calling our nation back to faith in God.”
“We have a sin problem and not just a skin problem.”
The pastor continued: “Despite our differences, every citizen of America can agree that we indeed have a monumental problem in our nation. A problem that people created, but people are incapable of solving. And often as we tell our church, we have a sin problem and not just a skin problem.”
“So I invite you to join me in a brief moment of prayer as we ask our gracious God for his help during these very perilous times,” Ward said.
And he began to pray.
“Our Father in Heaven, we humbly come to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And we ask you to forgive us all for straying from our ways, from your ways and from your Word, which invites the curse and results in repeated harming and the destruction of each other.”
“I declare the mercy of God. The grace of God. The peace of God. The goodness of God. And most importantly, the love of God over Kenosha. Over black people and white people. Over citizens and police and over these United States of America.”
“Father, unify us by your Holy Spirit. We pray for Jacob Blake even now and ask you to heal his spirit, soul, mind and body as well as the entire family. We ask you to give us wisdom on how to navigate our way forward as we deliberate to seek justice and to seek to bring healing to a hurting nation. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.”