KENOSHA, Wis. – For 23 consecutive days, Justin Blake has anxiously awaited a verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial.
Blake is the uncle of Jacob Blake, whose police-involved shooting sparked protests in Kenosha, where Rittenhouse is accused of shooting three men.
“The siblings, my brother, all of them, it’s very difficult,” Blake said.
Justin Blake says watching the Kyle Rittenhouse trial still brings back so many painful memories of his nephew. For more than three weeks, Justin Blake and others have protested in front of the Kenosha County courthouse, oftentimes combating with Rittenhouse supporters to make his voice heard.
“This is a historical case. Do we want 17-year-olds walking around the county with military-style weapons, able to shoot people? I think not,” Justin Blake said. “It’s bittersweet. Jacob didn’t get a trial. A jury. His trial was seven shots in the back in front of his three children that paralyzed him to this day.”
On Aug. 23, 2020, that shooting happened when a Kenosha police officer shot and seriously injured Justin’s nephew. The officer said he thought Jacob was about to stab him.
Prosecutors brought no charges against the officer.
Some believed Jacob’s race was the reason for the shooting, and demonstrators started marches, fights with police, and some burned property down.
In August of last year, amid riots, Kyle Rittenhouse shot three protesters, two fatally.
“We are here to support Anthony and Jojo to make sure their family gets the justice that we haven’t obtained just yet,” says Justin.
Justin Blake says the family is satisfied with the way the trial is going. Despite some believing Rittenhouse is innocent, Blake expects a guilty verdict, praising the prosecution for making the case.
“At the end, [the prosecution] stacked it all up and did a beautiful job bringing the facts,” Blake said. “Getting the jury to focus on the videos.”