The North Star has dropped its paywall during this COVID-19 crisis so that pertinent information and analysis is available to everyone during this time. This is only possible because of the generous support of our members. We rely on these funds to pay our staff to continue to provide high-quality content. If you are able to support, we invite you to do so here.
Wisconsin authorities identified the officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times as Rusten Sheskey. The statement from authorities also provided details of the shooting that appeared to place the blame for the incident on Jacob.
Authorities said Sheskey, who has been with Kenosha Police for seven years, was among the officers dispatched to a residence in the 2800 block of 40th Street. A female caller told dispatchers that her boyfriend was present at the property but was not supposed to be there.
Kenosha Police officers dispatched to the scene reportedly attempted to arrest 29-year-old Jacob. He allegedly admitted to officers that he had a knife in his possession, but the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) later found the knife in the driver’s side floorboard. DCI found no other weapons.
In an attempt to subdue Jacob and arrest him, officers tased him, but were unsuccessful in stopping him, police said. He then walked around his vehicle and opened the driver’s side door before Sheskey pulled on Jacob’s shirt and fired seven shots into Jacob’s back.
DCI, which is leading the investigation, said that no other officer fired their weapon. The Kenosha Police Department does not have body cameras, so body camera footage of the shooting is not available, authorities said.
After Sheskey shot Jacob, officers rendered medical aid before he was transported by Flight for Life to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. Jacob’s father, who has the same name, told the Chicago Sun-Times that his son had “eight holes” in his body and that he was paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors are not sure whether the injuries are permanent.
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Jacob and his family, and his co-counsels Patrick Salvi and B’Ivory Lamarr released a statement to The North Star about the latest developments.
“Jacob did nothing to provoke police. He was a great father and was only intending to get his children out of a volatile situation. Witnesses confirm that he was not in possession of a knife and didn’t threaten officers in any way,” the statement read. “We agree that Attorney General Kaul and District Attorney Graveley must complete a full investigation and anyone with information should come forward. At the same time, the video we’ve all seen is quite clear. This investigation should be completed quickly and decisively, not like the inquiry into the death of Breonna Taylor, which has dragged on for more than five months.”
Justin Blake, Jacob’s uncle, told CNN that the family does not want to talk to Sheskey.
“We just want to make sure the supervisors, those who are in charge, understand that (Jacob’s) mother and…his father just want justice,” he told CNN on August 26. “We don’t want to talk to him. He should have to deal with the system that’s in front of him, and we need to make sure that that system works.”
DCI said that officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave. The agency added that it will continue to “review evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to a prosecutor following a complete and thorough investigation.” DCI aims to provide that report to prosecutors within 30 days, the statement said.
The U.S. Justice Department also launched a civil rights inquiry into the shooting, The New York Times reported. The department said the FBI will conduct the investigation in cooperation with Wisconsin authorities. This is the second such investigation the FBI took on this year, the first inquiry being into Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis Police officer who killed George Floyd in May.
This article has been updated to include a statement by Ben Crump, who is representing the Blake family.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a senior writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas.