First Responders

Kenosha Police Attorney Releases Officers’ Detailed Account in Jacob Blake Shooting

September 1, 2020Ethan E. Rocke
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Wisconsin Sen. Steve Nass released a statement Friday issued by the Kenosha Professional Police Association (KPPA) and the officers involved in the Jacob Blake shooting, providing the officers’ version of events.


Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake seven times in the back Aug. 23 after officers responded to a domestic disturbance call. Video of the incident went viral, inflaming racial tensions and causing riots and unrest that led to widespread destruction and two deaths in Kenosha.


“Senator Nass believes it is important that the public have a more complete presentation of the facts relating to the incident involving Jacob Blake,” the statement said.


KPPA’s statement characterized media framing of the shooting as a “purely fictional depiction of events coming from those without direct knowledge of what actually occurred.”


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Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey, left, who shot Jacob Blake seven times, and Kenosha Police Officer Vincent Arenas. State authorities identified Arenas as one of the officers who deployed a stun gun at Jacob Blake before Blake was shot. Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Justice.

“Unfortunately, even the incident update from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation (‘DCI’) — the agency charged with investigating the incident independently — is riddled with incomplete information, and omits important details that would help to paint a more complete picture of the incident,” the statement said.


Here is the complete list of details as published in the KPPA statement:



  • The officers were dispatched to the location due to a complaint that Mr. Blake was attempting to steal the caller’s keys/vehicle.



  • Officers were aware of Mr. Blake’s open warrant for felony sexual assault (3rd degree) before they arrived on scene.



  • Mr. Blake was not breaking up a fight between two females when officers arrived on scene.



  • The silver SUV seen in the widely circulated video was not Mr. Blake’s vehicle.



  • Mr. Blake was not unarmed. He was armed with a knife. The officers did not see the knife initially. The officers first saw him holding the knife while they were on the passenger side of the vehicle. The “main” video circulating on the internet shows Mr. Blake with the knife in his left hand when he rounds the front of the car. The officers issued repeated commands for Mr. Blake to drop the knife. He did not comply.



  • The officers initially tried to speak with Mr. Blake, but he was uncooperative.



  • The officers then began issuing verbal commands to Mr. Blake, but he was non-complaint.



  • The officers next went “hands-on” with Mr. Blake, so as to gain compliance and control.



  • Mr. Blake actively resisted the officers’ attempt to gain compliance.



  • The officers then disengaged and drew their tasers, issuing commands to Mr. Blake that he would be tased if he did not comply.



  • Based on his non-compliance, one officer tased Mr. Blake. The taser did not incapacitate Mr. Blake.



  • The officers once more went “hands-on” with Mr. Blake; again, trying to gain control of the escalating situation.



  • Mr. Blake forcefully fought with the officers, including putting one of the officers in a headlock.



  • A second taser (from a different officer than had deployed the initial taser) was then deployed on Mr. Blake. It did not appear to have any impact on him.



  • Based on the inability to gain compliance and control after using verbal, physical and less-lethal means, the officers drew their firearms.



  • Mr. Blake continued to ignore the officers’ commands, even with the threat of lethal force now present.



 


In response to the union’s version of events, Blake’s father — also named Jacob Blake — told the Chicago Sun-Times, “They don’t matter to me. I don’t care what the union did. One of their guys put seven [bullets] in my son.”


Regarding the specific allegation that Blake was holding a knife, his father said, “I don’t even have comment on that. It’s a lie. I don’t need to justify that with an answer. … Ask them where they found the knife.”


Raysean White, the 22-year-old man who captured the now widespread video of Sheskey shooting Blake, told NBC News he saw “police out there wrestling” with Blake behind the vehicle. He said he saw a female officer fire a stun gun 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.”




Misinformation regarding Blake’s arrest warrant for third-degree sexual assault circulated online after several commenters promoted the idea that the charge relates to sex with a minor.


According to a criminal complaint filed by the Kenosha County District Attorney’s office in July, Blake is accused of having entered the home of his ex-girlfriend — also the mother of his three children — without her permission around 6 a.m. May 3 and sexually assaulting her, taking her car and debit card, and making two ATM withdrawals of $500 each.


The full complaint can be read here. Readers may find the details of the alleged assault and domestic abuse disturbing.



Ethan E. Rocke
Ethan E. Rocke

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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