Jacob Blake’s Uncle Waits Outside Courthouse in Rittenhouse Trial

The most consistent figure has been an uncle of Jacob Blake, the Black Kenosha resident who was shot by a white police officer, setting off the protests that brought Kyle Rittenhouse to the area.


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Jacob Blake’s uncle waits outside a quiet courthouse.

Nov. 10, 2021, 4:20 p.m. ET

Nov. 10, 2021, 4:20 p.m. ET

By Dan Hinkel

Justin Blake, uncle of Jacob Blake, outside the Kenosha County Courthouse last week.Credit…Carlos Javier Ortiz for The New York Times

As the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse has unfolded over recent days, the scene outside the Kenosha County Courthouse has been largely quiet.

The most consistent figure on the stone steps during the trial has been Justin Blake, an uncle of Jacob Blake, the Black Kenosha resident who was shot by a white police officer in 2020, setting off the demonstrations that brought Mr. Rittenhouse to the area.

Jacob Blake, who survived the shooting but was partially paralyzed, has moved away, family members say. But Justin Blake was in front of the court again on Wednesday while Mr. Rittenhouse testified. Mr. Blake has often been alone or with just a handful of people as the trial has played out, though he said he believed others would join him for a protest later in the day.

He said he thinks the rights of Black people — including the right to protest — depend on Mr. Rittenhouse being found guilty. He voiced anger at learning that Mr. Rittenhouse had cried on the witness stand, alluding to the men he killed, Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum.

“Where are the tears,” he said, for the families of Mr. Huber and Mr. Rosenbaum?

Supporters of Mr. Rittenhouse have occasionally joined Mr. Blake on the steps. On Wednesday, Karen Lee Spitzer of Kenosha stood nearby clutching a U.S. flag and wearing a sweatshirt with the slogan “All Lives Matter” drawn by hand in red. She said that the authorities should have been more aggressive with those who caused property damage back in 2020.

“You don’t set things on fire in this country,” she said.

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