Jacob Blake Was Trying to Kidnap Child When He Was Shot, Officer’s Lawyer Says
Jacob Blake was trying to kidnap a child when he attempted to enter a vehicle after resisting arrest last month, according to the police officer who shot him.
Rusten Sheskey told investigators he fired his weapon at Blake, who possessed a knife, because he was trying to protect his life and prevent Blake from kidnapping the child, who was in the backseat of the SUV, Sheskey’s attorney said.
If Blake had been allowed to get into the vehicle and drive away, “the question would have been ‘why didn’t you do something?’” Brendan Matthews, the attorney, told CNN.
Matthews and a lawyer representing Blake, Benjamin Crump, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Sheskey heard a woman nearby say, “He’s got my kid, he’s got my keys,” shortly before Blake escaped from officers who had tried to arrest him and walked around the SUV to the driver’s side door.
Matthews said he was speaking about what transpired because he wanted to challenge what he described as an “incomplete, inaccurate” narrative that has spread widely.
Matthews also said that Blake held a knife in his hand when he turned toward Sheskey, who then fired his gun seven times, striking Blake.
A second officer at the scene provided a similar account to investigators, according to the lawyer.
Brief, unfocused video clips showed the police shooting and some of what led up to the shooting, but the lack of body camera footage and more angles makes all of what happened unclear.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice said police officers went to the home in Kenosha on Aug. 23 after a female caller reported that her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises.
Officers tried arresting Blake, 29, with two deploying their stun guns, but he resisted arrest and was able to free himself.
Blake then walked around the van and leaned forward into the driver’s side area. While holding onto Blake’s shirt, Sheskey fired seven times into Blake’s back, investigators said.
Blake admitted that he had a knife in his possession and agents recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard.
Blake had a warrant out for his arrest when officers went to the home, according to court documents obtained by The Epoch Times.
The Kenosha Police Association, a police union, said in an Aug. 28 statement that officers went to the home because Blake was “attempting to steal the caller’s keys/vehicle.”
Blake had a knife that officers didn’t initially see. They first saw him holding the knife while they were on the passenger side of the vehicle, the union said.
Officers at first tried speaking with Blake but he wouldn’t cooperate and then resisted arrest, putting one officer in a headlock, according to the account.
“Based on the inability to gain compliance and control after using verbal, physical and less lethal means, the officers drew their firearms,” the union stated.
“Mr. Blake continued to ignore the officers’ commands, even with the threat of lethal force now present.”
The statement did not mention the prospect that Blake was kidnapping a child.
After the release of the statement, Patrick Salvi Jr., another Blake lawyer, said during an appearance on CNN’s “Situation Room” that the allegations were “overblown.”
“Jacob, as you can see in the video—and it’s a good thing there’s a video, so many of these instances were not caught on video, and essentially the police, who have brutalized an individual, get to write up a report as to what happened, so thankfully there are videos of this, and everybody can see in that video, that in the moments leading up to him being shot point blank at least seven times in the back, that he was posing absolutely no imminent threat to these officers,” he said.
“The existence of a knife, apparently what their position is, if there’s a knife in the vicinity, they’re free to use deadly force,” he added.
Blake suffered severe wounds from being shot and is still recovering at a hospital. Sheskey is on leave as the investigation into the shooting continues.
Noble Wray, a former Madison police chief, was tapped this week to serve as an independent consultant in the case. He will review the evidence after state authorities finish the probe. Wray will ultimately turn over the evidence and a recommendation to Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely, who will decide whether to file charges against any of the officers.