Jacob Blake, the Kenosha man, whose police shooting has led to fatal riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was found by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to have had a weapon on the floorboard of his vehicle.
The viral shooting came at a time when police brutality scandals have entered the public sphere and race relations were mired by a summer of violence following the in-custody death of suspected fraudster George Floyd.
The statement begins by recalling the events leading up to the shooting when police were called out to a home disturbance.
“During the incident, officers attempted to arrest Jacob S. Blake, age 29. Law enforcement deployed a taser to attempt to stop Mr. Blake, however the taser was not successful in stopping Mr. Blake. Mr. Blake walked around his vehicle, opened the driver’s side door, and leaned forward,” the statement read.
“While holding onto Mr. Blake’s shirt, Officer Rusten Sheskey fired his service weapon 7 times. Officer Sheskey fired the weapon into Mr. Blake’s back. No other officer fired their weapon. Kenosha Police Department does not have body cameras, therefore the officers were not wearing body cameras.”
“The shooting officer, Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey, has been a law enforcement officer with Kenosha Police Department for seven years,” the statement added. “During the investigation following the initial incident, Mr. Blake admitted that he had a knife in his possession. 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 shooting triggered violent protests that saw businesses burned, officers attacked, and fatal shootings as some spun a narrative suggesting Blake may have been unarmed when he was shot.
“Law enforcement immediately provided medical aid to Mr. Blake. Flight for Life transported Mr. Blake to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. Mr. Blake remains at the hospital,” the Wisconsin DOJ wrote. “DCI is leading this investigation and is assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Wisconsin State Patrol and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office. All involved law enforcement are fully cooperating with DCI during this investigation. The involved officers have been placed on administrative leave.”
“DCI is continuing to review evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to a prosecutor following a complete and thorough investigation,” the statement continued.
National File recently reported on a similar story in Pennsylvania, where uncooperative suspects walked away from officers and retreated to their vehicles, only to open fire on police immediately after. Three officers were wounded in the incident.