On Tuesday, media outlets, journalists and influencers claimed Jacob Blake was unarmed, despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, following the announcement that charges will not be pursued against the officer who shot him.
The Washington Post falsely reported that Blake was unarmed and even wrote on Twitter that, "Police officers won't be charged in shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man who was shot 7 times in the back in Kenosha, Wis."
Multiple influencers, activists, journalists and media outlets echoed the same false statement including PBS, NBC, Buzzfeed and others.
However, Kenosha District Attorney Michael Gravely said during a press conference "It is absolutely incontrovertible that Jacob Blake was armed with a knife during this encounter."
Gravely added that Blake had previously attacked police with a knife during a 2010 incident in which he slashed at officers and tried to provoke them to shoot him.
It was revealed by Kenosha officials in August that Jacob Blake had a knife when he was shot in the back seven times by Kenosha, Wisconsin police leaving him paralyzed.
The Daily Mail reported at the time, “The Wisconsin Department of Justice provided some of the first details surrounding the police shooting on Wednesday, revealing Blake had a knife and the name of the officer who opened fire. That knife was later recovered from the driver's side floorboard of his SUV, but it's unclear if Blake had it on him when he was talking to police.”
Police were called to the scene at the 2800 block of 40th Street in Kenosha on Sunday August 23, 2019 after Blake's girlfriend 'reported that her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises.'
Officers tried to subdue Blake with a taser before opening fire. Police were attempting to arrest Blake for violating a restraining order from an alleged sexual assault. Officials said at the time that 'During the incident, officers attempted to arrest Jacob S. Blake... Law enforcement deployed a taser to attempt to stop Mr. Blake, however the taser was not successful in stopping Mr. Blake.'
Blake admitted that he had a knife during the course of the investigation.
In video of the incident officers yelled for Blake to 'drop the knife' as they followed him around the car. Blake opened his car door and appeared to grab for something as Officer Rusten Sheskey, grabbed the back of his shirt and fired into Blake's back seven times.
During a press conference Tuesday, Graveley said that after the investigation, officials couldn't find a law the officer had broken. Graveley added that statements that he was unarmed contradicts what Blake told authorities.
"It’s a narrow task today, it’s a legal and professional task," Graveley said. "Everybody has seen the video and so from their perspective they have tried this case at their computer screen or from their living room.
"He even tells us at different times he had the knife in different hands," Graveley continued. "So he arms himself with a knife and refuses to drop that knife."
Graveley also announced that Blake will not face charges and also declined to charge the two officers present at the scene, Brittany Meronek and Vincent Arenas.
The shooting left Blake paralyzed and sparked riots in Kenosha over the course of the week. The unrest included two fatal shootings, arson and destruction of property including the Aug. 25, and the shooting of two men by Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, during a third night of unrest.
Update: Following the publication of this article, The Washington Post issued a correction acknowledging that Blake was indeed armed.
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