Jacob Blake, the Black man shot seven times in the back by a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer Sunday, had a knife in his possession, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) said in a press release Wednesday.
“During the investigation following the initial incident, Mr. Blake admitted that he had a knife in his possession,” the statement said. “DCI agents recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of Mr. Blake’s vehicle. A search of the vehicle located no additional weapons.”
The statement said Kenosha Police Department officers were responding to a call from a woman at a residence in the 2800 block of 40th Street who reported that her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be there.
The police dispatcher told police that Blake “took the complainant’s keys and is refusing to give them back,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The dispatcher also advised the responding officers that there was an alert for a wanted person at that address.
The Kenosha News reported that “a warrant had been issued for Blake’s arrest on July 6, with charges for criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and third-degree sexual assault, all with a domestic violence modifier. According to the criminal complaint, a woman who lived on the 2800 block of 40th Street called police in May and reported her former boyfriend Blake had entered her home and taken her car keys and vehicle. She told the officer Blake had also touched her sexually without consent.”
The DOJ statement said officers attempted to arrest Blake, deploying a taser, which failed to stop him. A video posted to social media appears to capture the officers’ attempts to subdue Blake before he got away from them. Blake walked around his vehicle, opened the driver’s-side door, and leaned forward.
The now widespread video captured by 22-year-old Raysean White shows one officer pulling on Blake’s shirt as he leans into the vehicle, and then the officer fires the seven shots into Blake’s back.
Wisconsin DOJ said Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the department, is the officer who shot Blake, and no other officers discharged their firearms.
White told NBC News that before he started recording the video, he heard a group of women arguing across the street from his apartment.
Here's a video of the shooting that happened in Kenosha, Wisconsin. This video shows the shooting of Jacob Blake from a different vantage point. pic.twitter.com/d2CYIis6Zm
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) August 24, 2020
“Then the guy that got shot showed up,” White told NBC News. “He pulled up in his truck, got out his truck, seen him walk up. His son was running toward him. He was picking up his son. He told his son to get in the gray truck, we about to go.”
Minutes later, White looked out his window and saw “police out there wrestling” with Blake behind the vehicle. He said he saw a female officer fire a taser at Blake just before White started recording.
“They were also yelling, ‘Drop the knife,'” White told NBC News. “I didn’t see any weapons in his hands. He wasn’t being violent.”
After the shooting, police officers provided immediate medical aid to Blake, and Flight for Life transported him to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. Blake is still in the hospital receiving treatment.
ABC 7 Chicago reported that Blake’s attorneys said Tuesday afternoon it would be a “miracle” if Blake ever walked again. They said the bullets severed his spinal cord and shattered some of Blake’s vertebrae, as well as causing damage to his stomach, kidneys, and liver.
The FBI, Wisconsin State Patrol, and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office are all assisting DCI with its investigation. The involved officers have been placed on administrative leave.
Ethan E. Rocke is a contributor and former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine, a New York Times bestselling author, and award-winning photographer and filmmaker. He is a veteran of the US Army and Marine Corps. His work has been published in Maxim Magazine, American Legion Magazine, and many others. He is co-author of The Last Punisher: A SEAL Team THREE Sniper’s True Account of the Battle of Ramadi.
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