Three days after Kenosha police shot Jacob Blake multiple times in the back in front of his three children, the department finally has its version of events (or, as CNN aptly put it, “their first version”) of the police shooting.
Released late Wednesday, the official police report says officers were responding to a domestic dispute on Sunday afternoon. The call was made by someone saying they were Blake’s girlfriend and complaining that Blake was not supposed to be on the premises and took her keys.
Police went to the scene to arrest Blake, and video taken from bystanders shows an initial struggle between Blake and the officers. At one point, police used a taser in an attempt to stop him from leaving. Blake walked around to the front of the SUV, trailed by officer Rusten Sheskey and another cop.
Between the initial report and the dispatcher receiving reports of shots fired, only five minutes elapsed.
The Kenosha police say Sheskey, who has been with the force for seven years, was the only one who fired his weapon that afternoon. He fired seven shots at Blake’s back.
In the car were Blake’s three sons, one of whom was celebrating his 8th birthday that day. The report also notes that Blake had a knife in the car, recovered from the driver’s side floorboard of his SUV. The agency says Blake admitted he had a knife in his possession.
As CNN notes, the release of the report marks the first time Kenosha police have given their side of the story, but there are still “gaping holes in its timeline and only the outlines of an explanation.”
The agency does not say why its officers were trying to arrest Blake or whether Blake had ever threatened to use the knife (it is near impossible to imagine Sheskey spotting a knife on the floorboard from his position behind Blake). Nor does the report state why Sheskey believed it appropriate to shoot Blake seven times as he was facing away from the officer or mention that there were children present.
Sheskey and the officer seen on video following closely behind him as he shot at Blake are both on administrative leave. Blake is currently partially paralyzed as a result of the shooting, sustaining damage to his kidney, liver and spinal cord.
On Thursday, the Justice Department announced that the FBI would lead a civil rights probe into the shooting, the second such case of the year, reports the New York Times (George Floyd is the other open case the DOJ is investigating). Sources from the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, as well as civil rights advocates, said they did not expect the agency to release its findings before the November election.
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