Jacob Blake ‘had knife and put officer in headlock before police shooting’

A black man shot seven times in the back by US police had a knife and fought with officers beforehand, putting one in a headlock and shrugging off two Taser attempts, it is claimed.

Jacob Blake, 29, has been left paralysed from the waist down following the shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and is being treated in hospital.

The new claim came from the Kenosha police union which offered the most detailed account yet from the officers’ perspective of the moments before the shooting.

Last Sunday’s incident led to peaceful protests and also violent demonstrations, including the fatal shooting of two people in the US city on Tuesday.

Officer Rusten Sheskey has been placed on administrative leave Pic: Kenosha Police Department
Image:Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Mr Blake. Pic: Kenosha Police Department

Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Blake family, has called for the arrest of Rusten Sheskey – the officer who shot Mr Blake – and for the two other officers involved in the shooting, Vincent Arenas and Brittany Meronek, to be sacked.

All three officers have now been put on administrative leave.

Mr Crump has claimed Mr Blake was only trying to break up a domestic dispute and did nothing to provoke police, saying witnesses did not see him with a knife.

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Mobile phone footage, filmed by Raysean White, showed Mr Sheskey and another officer following Mr Blake with their guns drawn as he walked around the front of a parked SUV. Mr Blake’s three children were in the back.

The officers had been sent there following a complaint by a telephone caller that Mr Blake was trying to steal their keys and vehicle, said Brendan Matthews, a lawyer for the Kenosha Professional Police Association.

Shooting

Video shows moments before shooting

Mr Blake was armed with a knife, but officers did not initially see it, Mr Matthews said.

The officers first saw him holding the knife while they were on the passenger side of the vehicle, he added.

Mr White said he saw Mr Blake scuffling with three officers and heard them shout ‘drop the knife, drop the knife’ before there was gunfire. He said he did not see a knife in Mr Blake’s hands.

Investigators have said officers saw a knife on the floor of the car. They have not said whether Mr Blake threatened anyone with it.

Officers made several requests to Mr Blake to drop the knife, but he was uncooperative, Mr Matthews said, adding officers used a Taser on Mr Blake, but it did not incapacitate him.

Jacob Blake Sr, the father of Jacob Blake, addresses the crowd

Jacob Blake Sr: ‘We’re not taking it anymore’

Mr Blake forcefully fought with the officers, including putting one of the officers in a headlock, Mr Matthews said. A second stun from a Taser also did not stop him, he added.

As Mr Blake opened the driver’s door of the SUV, Mr Sheskey pulled on Mr Blake’s shirt and then opened fire.

Officers drew their firearms based on the inability to gain compliance and control after using verbal, physical and less-lethal means, Mr Matthews said.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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