Investigators Say Jacob Blake ‘Had a Knife in His Possession’ during Shooting

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul speaks during a news conference in Kenosha, Wisc., August 26, 2020. (Stephen Maturen/Reuters)

The Wisconsin Justice Department revealed Wednesday that Jacob Blake had admitted to investigators that “he had a knife in his possession” when he was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha police on Sunday.

Investigators found a knife on the “driver’s side floorboard of Mr. Blake’s vehicle,” the DOJ release states. The DOJ also named the officer who shot Blake as Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the force. The DOJ’s release said that, before Sheskey shot Blake, officers had “deployed a taser to attempt to stop Mr. Blake, however the taser was not successful.”

There was no body-camera footage captured by the officers, although Kenosha city leaders unanimously approved a plan in 2017 to acquire the devices for law enforcement.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Blake family, said Tuesday that Blake was “helping to deescalate a domestic incident” when confronted by the officers. But the DOJ release says officers were dispatched to the address “after a female caller reported that her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises.”

Kenosha police scanner audio confirms that Blake was named as the individual not supposed to be at the property, and that he had “took the complainant’s keys and is refusing to give them back.” The dispatcher also told police that there was “an alert at this address for a 99 for this subject” — referencing that there was an outstanding warrant for Blake’s arrest. Court records from July indicate a warrant was issued for Blake’s arrest on three charges — criminal trespass, domestic abuse, and third-degree sexual assault.

Sheskey, who remains on administrative leave, has not been charged in the shooting. Blake remains in the hospital.

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