Kenosha police union gives its version of Blake shooting

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KENOSHA, Wis. — The Kenosha police union has offered the most detailed accounting to date on officers’ perspective about what happened prior to Jacob Blake being shot seven times in the back.

Blake’s shooting sparked nationwide protests and civil unrest after a video of the incident circulated throughout social media.

The footage captured from a bystander shows an officer with a gun drawn while walking behind Blake as he walks around a parked SUV, with a second officer closely behind the two.

The state Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation later identified the officer who shot Blake as Rusten Sheskey, who has served with Kenosha police for seven years. Officers Vincent Arenas and Brittany Meronek were also at the scene, but only Sheskey fired at Blake.

DCI said Sheskey and the other officers were originally sent to a home on the 2800 block of 40th Street after a woman reported that her boyfriend was there when he was not supposed to be on the premises.

An attorney for the Kenosha Professional Police Association says DCI’s public accounting of the event to date is “riddled with incomplete information and omits important details.”

The attorney said the caller told officials Blake tried to steal her keys and vehicle, which would mean the SUV in the video was not Blake’s. The statement said officers were also made aware of Blake’s open warrant for felony sexual assault prior to arriving.

The statement claimed Blake was not breaking up a fight between two women when police arrived, which is what bystanders had told police.

The police union’s statement said that Blake was armed with a knife before reaching the vehicle and fought with officers, putting one of them in a headlock.

Prior to the incident being recorded on a cell phone, the statement said the officers attempted to de-escalate the situation by giving Blake multiple commands to drop the knife but he was uncooperative. The police union also said the two attempts at using tasers were unsuccessful.

In the video, Blake opens the driver’s side door and leans in as the first officer grabs Blake’s shirt and shoots him seven times in the back.

The police union’s statement stopped short of the shooting and did not include anything about the seven shots being fired into Blake’s back.

DCI conducted an investigation after the shooting and said Blake admitted he was possessing a knife, which was recovered from the driver’s side floorboard of his vehicle. No other weapons were found in the car.

Blake was immediately taken to Froedtert Hospital hospital in Wauwatosa. His family and attorneys say he’s paralyzed from the waist down.