The Kenosha Police Union on Friday released its to-date account on the moments that led up to the shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer on Aug. 23.
New allegations about the encounter appear to show that the interaction was far more involved than what it seemed on the surface: Blake reportedly confronted officers, placed one of them in a headlock, and was armed with a knife that he refused to drop — all before a Kenosha police officer was able to fire his service weapon.
What’s a very brief history here?
Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey reportedly shot Blake in the back seven times last week during a call for a domestic dispute. Blake’s family has said he is paralyzed from the waist down because of the shooting.
Since then, violent riots and out-of-control protests in Blake’s honor have erupted across the U.S., putting further strain and pressure on police-community relations.
What are the details?
Kenosha Police Union attorney Brendan Matthews said that Blake was armed with a knife at a residence other than his own when Sheskey and other officers arrived on the scene, WCCO-TV reported.
Blake was reportedly at the residence of his ex-girlfriend, who accused him of sexual assault in May. Blake’s ex-girlfriend called police, alleging that he was attempting to steal her keys and vehicle. Reports say that because of the alleged May assault, Blake was not supposed to be at her residence at all.
When officers arrived, Blake reportedly fought against them and even allegedly placed one in a headlock.
“The officers first saw [Blake] holding the knife while they were on the passenger side of the vehicle,” Matthews explained.
Sheskey later shot Blake in the back while the two engaged on the driver’s side of the vehicle.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice continues to investigate the incident.
On Friday, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said that the agency can neither confirm nor deny the union’s statement on the chain of events that led to Blake’s shooting, but did point out that Blake was, in fact, in possession of a knife.
What else do we know about the police officer?
In a 2019 interview with the Kenosha News, Sheskey said he long wanted to be a police officer to help people.
“What I like most [about being an officer] is that you’re dealing with people on perhaps the worst day of their lives, and you can try and help them as much as you can and make that day a little bit better,” he said at the time. “And that, for the most part, people trust us to do that for them. And it’s a huge responsibility, and I really like trying to help people. We may not be able to make a situation right, or better, but we can maybe make it a little easier for them to handle during that time.”
Policing apparently runs in the family: Sheskey’s grandfather served as an officer for the City of Kenosha for 33 years.