Black Lives Matter Update: Jacob Blake Jr.

In the midst of “Black Lives Matter” protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd (as well as other victims of police brutality), another tragic case involves 29-year-old black man, Jacob Blake Jr., in Kenosha, WI. On Aug. 26, 2020 after being shot at seven times by Kenosha officer, Rusten Sheskey, Blake was hit four times in the back, which has paralyzed him from the waist down.

Blake was allegedly near a residence that he was not supposed to be at. Blake appeared to be breaking up a fight between two women when police were called to the scene. 

“He took the complainant’s keys and is refusing to give them back,” the woman who made the phone call to Kenosha police said. 

When the police arrived a few minutes later, the 911 dispatcher notified police that the woman who had called said that Blake was attempting to leave as instructed. 

Regardless, reports state that police still wrestled Blake and tased him, which was ineffective in immobilizing him. He later attempted to leave by disregarding police instructions and was then shot by Rusten Sheskey. Blake’s three sons were in the car when this altercation took place. No other officer fired his/her weapon. 

The detective chief inspector (DCI) report mentioned a possible weapon in Blake’s car, which was said to be a knife located underneath the floorboard on the driver’s side. However, no weapons were found on Blake’s body and his attorney Benjamin Crump denied allegations of a weapon at the scene and reflected the on the impact to Blake. 

“It’s going to take a miracle for [Blake] to ever walk again,” Crump said. 

Two officers involved have been placed on administrative leave since this event unfolded. 

Protests later broke out against the Kenosha police department in support of Blake and other police brutality victims. Two protestors were shot and killed and suspect 17-year-old Illinois resident Kyle Rittenhouse was been arrested. 

Rittenhouse was charged with first-degree intentional murder, two counts of safety endangerment, and a misdemeanor charge for possessing and openly carrying a weapon under the age of 18. 

Rittenhouse was a known supporter of “Back the Blue” which is a statement in support of law enforcement. The suspect’s social media accounts showed video footage of guns, pro-police posts and footage of a Donald Trump rally in Iowa.

He was a cadet in training for law enforcement career preparation and was a high school dropout, according to his neighbor. 

Rittenhouse was not arrested until he turned himself in his hometown in Antioch, Ill. after a warrant for his arrest was issued. He is being held in a juvenile detention center until his extradition to Wisconsin where he will be tried as an adult.