The lawyer of the police officer who shot Jacob Blake says that he was prompted to shoot when he heared a woman say that Blake had her child.
In an interview with CNN, Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey's attorney spoke out for the first time on this incident. According to attorney Brendan Matthews, Jacob Blake was shot because he was wielding a knife and Rusten feared he was kidnapping a child. This is the first time this rationale behind the shooting has been articulated.
On Aug. 23, Rusten shot Blake seven times. The incident was caught on camera and eventually went viral as it depicts the officer shooting Blake as he leaned into his SUV. Blake survived but is now paralyzed, and riots ensued as a result of the shooting perceived as racially motivated.
According to a dispatch log, a woman reported to police that Blake had taken her keys and refused to give them back. Sheskey and fellow officers responded to a call of "family trouble". Once the officers arrived, Matthews said Sheskey watched Blake put one child in the car, while being unaware that two more children were already in the vehicle. The other officer heard a woman screaming.
They then attempted to arrest Blake, but he was allegedly "uncooperative", which led to the officers using their tasers multiple times to no success. They then saw Blake grab the knife and were forced to shoot him, according to the attorney.
"He's got my kid. He's got my keys," Sheskey heard a woman say, according to Matthews. This allegedly prompted him to do whatever he could in preventing Blake from fleeing with the child. His attorney states, "the question would have been 'why didn't you do something?'", if he allowed Blake to escape.
While the officer remains on paid administrative leave, the state Department of Justice have conducted an investigation, and the results will soon be public. This will determine whether criminal charges at to be made against the officer.
The attorney continued, stating he does not usually discuss his cases on the record but the "incomplete, inaccurate" narrative by the media has forced his hand to clear things up. Specifically, Matthews sought to dispute assertions by Blake's family and lawyers that he was unarmed and posed no threat to the officers.
Authorities have confirmed that there was a knife on the scene, and according to the second officer on the scene, Blake did indeed wield the knife. The second officer even stated he would have shot Blake himself if he had a clear shot. Raysean White, who shot video of the encounter, said he twice heard police tell Blake to "drop the knife," but could not see the actual knife himself. On the cell-phone video, it does appear as though Blake is wielding an object, but specifics are unclear.
Authorities also state this is not the first time they have had such encounters, as Blake has been charged with sexual assault and other offenses in connection to another incident 3 months prior to this shooting.
According to Matthews, the highly publicized incident has been devastating to the officer. "He had to move out of his house and get rid of his phone because he's been hounded by reporters and depicted as a racist and brutal cop on the internet", Matthews said. Matthews noted that Sheskey had not pulled the trigger in the line of duty before the blank incident, and has been in the force for 10 years with no prior history of abusing suspects.