Kenosha, WI – A lawyer for the officer who shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake in August said his client believed at the time that the suspect was trying to kidnap his own children.
Attorney Brendan Matthews, who is representing Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey, told CNN that when officers arrived on the scene on Aug. 23, a woman said “he’s got my kid, he’s got my keys.”
Matthews said that if Officer Sheskey and his partner had allowed Blake to drive away with the children in the car and something bad had happened, “the question would have been ‘why didn’t you do something?'”
The attorney for the police union who is representing the officers involved in Blake’s shooting said the narrative that has been pushed by the suspect’s family has been “incomplete, in accurate” and needed to be corrected, CNN reported.
Matthews put out an earlier statement in the wake of violent protests against the police after the shooting that called the protesters’ narrative “wholly inaccurate,” the Kenosha News reported.
“The purely fictional depiction of events coming from those without direct knowledge of what actually occurred is incredibly harmful, and provides no benefit to anyone whatsoever, other than to perpetuate a misleading narrative,” the attorney stated.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) released a statement on Thursday night that confirmed the mother of Blake’s children, Laquisha Booker, was the person who called 911 the day Blake was shot.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that dispatchers said the woman who called 911 had told them Blake “isn’t supposed to be there and he took the complainant’s keys and is refusing to give them back.” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
DCI said the 911 caller told the dispatcher that Blake had been her boyfriend, according to the statement.
The dispatcher advised the responding officers that there was an alert for a wanted person at that address.
Matthews said that the officers knew before they arrived on the scene on Aug. 23 that Blake had an active warrant for domestic violence charges for an attack on Booker that occurred in May, the Kenosha News reported.
He was wanted on charges of third-degree sexual assault, trespassing, and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse that occurred at the same address, according to Newsweek.
The union’s attorney explained that the Kenosha officers were required to take Blake into custody regardless of what was happening at the new scene they responded to because he already had the outstanding warrants, according to the Kenosha News.
DCI said that Kenosha Police Officers Rusten Sheskey, Vincent Arenas, and Brittany Meronek responded to the home in the 2800-block of 40th Street and attempted to take Blake into custody.
Matthews said Blake resisted arrest and officers went “hands-on” with the wanted man, the Kenosha News reported.
The union attorney said Blake “forcefully fought” with officers, including putting one of them in a headlock.
Officer Sheskey deployed his Taser at the suspect but it had no effect on him, according to the DCI statement.
So Officer Arenas deployed his Taser at Blake, too, but DCI said that also proved to be ineffective at subduing the man.
Blake walked around his car and ignored officers’ commands to stop and “drop the knife,” according to witness reports.
Cell phone video of the incident posted to social media showed Officers Sheskey and Arenas following closely behind Blake with their weapons drawn as the suspect dashed to the driver’s door of his SUV.
The video showed Blake continued to ignore officers’ commands to stop and leaned into his vehicle as if reaching for something.
Officer Sheskey, who was right behind Blake, opened fire on the suspect and shot him seven times, according to the DCI statement.
Matthews said that immediately following the shooting, the people involved in the incident claimed that Blake was unarmed and had been breaking up a fight between two women when he was shot, but none of that was true and led to dangerous rumors on social media.
The DCI said police found a knife at the scene.
“During the investigation following the initial incident, Mr. Blake admitted that he had a knife in his possession,” the statement read. “DCI agents recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of Mr. Blake’s vehicle. A search of the vehicle located no additional weapons.”
But officials have continued to dodge questions about whether officers had seen the knife in Blake’s hand before he was shot.
“We’re not commenting on that detail at this point in the investigation. Mr. Blake stated to investigators that he had a knife in his possession and there was one that was found on the driver’s side floorboard,” Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said.
“This is an ongoing investigation and we are not commenting on facts that may be disputed as this case moves forward,” Kaul said. “Ultimately, this case is going to be presented after a full and thorough investigation to a prosecutor who is going to make a charging decision. And if there is a charge or charges that are filed in this case, this is going to be tried in a court of law and it’s our top priority to make sure we’re protecting the integrity of this investigation.”
But the union attorney addressed the question in his statement on the shooting, the Kenosha News reported.
“Mr. Blake was not unarmed. He was armed with a knife. The officers did not see the knife initially,” Matthews said in his statement. “The officers issued repeated commands for Mr. Blake to drop the knife. He did not comply.”
All of the officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave pending completion of the investigation, as is protocol for all officer-involved shootings, ABC News reported.
DCI said that Officer Sheskey is a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department.
Officer Arenas is a military veteran who was a member of the U.S. Capitol Police before he joined the Kenosha police force, according to the statement.
DCI said that rookie Officer Meronek was sworn into the Kenosha police in January.