South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the U.S. Senate and the lawmaker who led the GOP’s unsuccessful police reform effort earlier this year, said he saw “no justification” for a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer to shoot Jacob Blake seven times in the back, according to CBS News.
What did he say? “Looking at the video, I saw no justification whatsoever for those cops to shoot that young man, Jacob,” Scott told Gayle King. “We need to get to the root of the issue. As the pastor who prayed before the news conference for the family said, this is a sin issue not a skin issue, though it seems to be happening far more often to folks who are African American than not. That frustrates me, to be honest with you.”
King pushed back, saying it is a “skin issue” when considering how police treated Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old from Illinois who killed two people during riots Tuesday night, contrasted with how police treated Blake. Rittenhouse was not arrested at the scene of the shootings, but was later arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
Is Scott correct? There is still debate about whether Officer Rusten Sheskey was justified in shooting Blake. Sheskey and other officers arrived at the scene due to a domestic disturbance call. Blake’s girlfriend reportedly called 911 on him and accused him of taking her keys and refusing to leave the premises.
Officers attempted to subdue Blake, who resisted arrest, and deployed stun guns, which also failed to stop him. Blake freed himself from officers and walked from the passenger side of his car to the driver’s side, where he opened the door and reached into the vehicle. That’s when Sheskey shot him seven times in the back at close range.
Police say a knife was found on the floor of the driver’s side where Blake was reaching, but they did not clarify whether Blake was holding the knife when he was shot, or whether it was on the floor and they believed him to be reaching for it.
What’s going on now? Blake is still in the hospital, reportedly paralyzed from the waist down—a condition which doctors are still unsure whether it will be permanent. Blake’s father reported that his son is handcuffed to his bed, but that police aren’t dealing why.
State court records show that Blake had a warrant out for third-degree sexual assault and domestic abuse that was issued on July 7.