What You Should Know About the Shooting of Jacob Blake Shot by Kenosha Police
On August 23, 2020, 29-year-old Kenosha man Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha Police officer Rusten Sheskey. As a result of the shooting, Blake – a father of six – is now paralyzed from the waist down. The gruesome incident was captured on video by an onlooker and uploaded to social media, where the clip instantly went viral. The video can be seen HERE, but please know that the clip contains disturbing images.
As of August 27, the Wisconsin Department of Justice investigation into the shooting is still ongoing, so the full details about Blake’s shooting are not yet known. However, based upon information provided by authorities thus far, here are answers to a few key questions about the shooting:
- What led to Blake’s shooting? Shortly after 5 p.m. on Sunday August 23, Kenosha Police received a call regarding a domestic disturbance between Blake and another woman. According to authorities, the caller said that “her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises.” Police arrived on the scene and apparently tried to use a taser on Blake, but he continued walking towards his vehicle. At this point, the witness’s video shows an officer follow Blake to his vehicle, grab him by the back of his shirt, and fire seven shots into his back.
- What are the extent of Blake’s injuries? According to Jacob Blake’s family, he is now paralyzed from the waist down. His family’s attorneys told the media that “the bullets pierced his abdomen, shattered some of his vertebrae and severed his spinal cord.” Despite continued treatment at Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, the Blake family tragically reported that it would be “a miracle” is Blake were ever to walk again.
- Were any weapons involved in the altercation prior to the shooting? Since the Wisconsin Department of Justice has only released minimal details regarding the shooting, this point is not completely clear. As of August 27, all that’s known is that – per a Wisconsin DOJ press release – a knife was found on the driver’s-side floorboard of Blake’s vehicle. However, according to PolitiFact (a nonpartisan fact-checking organization), it is not clear whether Blake actually brandished the knife at any point during his interactions with police. Also, despite a widely shared Facebook post to the contrary, it has been confirmed that no gun was recovered at the scene.
- What do we know about the officer who shot Blake? Not much is yet known about Rusten Sheskey, the 31-year-old Kenosha Police officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back. So far, it is established that Sheskey worked for the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Police Department for several years before joining Kenosha Police, where he has worked for seven years. Court records also show that Sheskey was sued in 2015 after allegedly taking an illegal left turn and striking a teenage girl driving a Jeep. Wisconsin authorities have yet to respond to requests for Sheskey’s department records, which would reveal any prior use of force or disciplinary issues.
- What has happened in Kenosha in the aftermath of Blake’s shooting? Following the shooting, Kenosha experienced several nights of tense protest in the city’s downtown area. As can be seen HERE, protests escalated to the point of several fires and substantial property damage, but more importantly, two individuals were also shot and killed by a self-declared “militia” member armed with an AR-15. In fact, this armed “militia” member turned out to be 17-year-old Antioch, Illinois native Kyle Rittenhouse, who was promptly identified and charged with two counts of first-degree murder and another count of attempted murder.
- Has the impact of Blake’s shooting been seen in areas outside of the Midwest? The shooting of Jacob Blake sent shockwaves throughout the entire country in the days following this tragic incident. Protestors set out to voice their frustrations with law enforcement and support the Blake family in major U.S. cities such as New York, Atlanta, Denver, and Minneapolis. Additionally, a number of different professional sports teams – including several MLB teams and every active team in the NBA, WNBA, and NHL – agreed to temporarily boycott their games in an effort to shine a light on Blake’s shooting and police misconduct in general.
On August 26, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it would begin a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting of Jacob Blake. As mentioned above, the Wisconsin DOJ’s investigation is also currently underway. Be sure to stay tuned to the Coffman Law blog, as we will continue updating our readers on the latest and most important news in the areas of civil rights, police shootings, personal injury cases, and more.
About Coffman Law Offices, P.C.
Coffman Law is committed to providing superb legal representation for people who are suffering from severe personal injuries or are dealing with the loss of a loved one due to negligence or misconduct. Coffman Law is a small, results-driven firm focused on ensuring that clients receive the compassion, attention, and consideration that they need to seek adequate redress for injuries or loss. The firm is led by Owner and Founding Partner Brian Coffman, who has dedicated his career to helping accident victims navigate the legal system and obtain redress for their injuries. If you have been injured or lost a loved one, contact Coffman Law today for a free consultation.