29-year-old Jacob Blake was seen for the first time since he was shot seven times in the back by an officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The father-of-six, who was paralyzed from his waist down, appeared in Wisconsin criminal court via teleconference from his hospital bed and he seemed to be in high spirits wearing a light-blue dress shirt and a yellow tie.
Blake pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including disorderly conduct, misdemeanor trespassing, and sexual assault.
His attorney, Patrick Cafferty, noted that the father-of-six had been working as a painter and had no prior criminal record or convictions.
Loren Keating, a Kenosha County judicial court commissioner, explained his rights and bound him over for trial.
Blake answered ‘Yes, sir’ when asked by the commissioner about his understanding of the proceedings.
The court appearance marked the first time Blake was seen by the public since the shooting incident in Kenosha after his ex-girlfriend, the mother of three of his children, told police that he sexually assaulted her on May 3 before stealing her debit card and vehicle.
At the time of the shooting, Blake was wanted for the three charges to which he pleaded not guilty during the Zoom call.
Zeke Wiedenfield, a prosecutor, said: “The state recognizes that these are serious charges but also that the defendant has serious injuries and he’s recovering at the hospital.”
The Kenosha shooting, which was witnessed by three of his children, sparked protests and made the state the epicenter of the country’s ongoing debate over racial injustice and police violence.
“There’s nothing that my son did that justifies getting shot seven times in his back,” his father, Blake Sr. said. “Nothing.”
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