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Did Jacob Blake Have A Weapon? We Examine The Facts

Kenosha, WI – The public has been told through rumor alone that Jacob Blake was unarmed when he was shot by Kenosha police on Sunday.

Officials have refused to confirm or deny if Jacob Blake was armed, and so we cannot definitively say if he had a weapon.

UPDATE: Wisconsin DOJ confirmed Wednesday that Blake was armed with a knife.

However, there is significant evidence to suggest that Blake had a knife.

Screenshots from the incident show what appears to be a curved-blade knife, such as a Karambit, in his left hand while he was walking away from officers.

A Karambit has a curved blade and a finger hole that is considered ideal for close-up combat.

Blade HQ called a Karambit the “ultimate self defense tool.”

The Jacob Blake Shooting

The incident that led to Blake’s shooting began just after 5 p.m. on Aug. 23 when officers responded to a call about a domestic disturbance at a home in the 2800-block of 40th Street in Kenosha, WTMJ reported.

The woman who called 911 told dispatchers that 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.

The dispatcher advised the responding officers that there was an alert for a wanted person at that address.

It turned out that Blake had a warrant from another domestic incident in May, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 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.

Kenosha police officers do not have bodycams but two cell phone videos have been released that showed views of the incident from opposite sides of the street.

The Shooting Videos

A video that showed Blake running away from police before leaning into his car and being shot by an officer went wildly viral and sparked violent riots in Kenosha.

The second video that was released actually showed what happened that led up to the shooting.

It showed Blake actively struggling with at least two Kenosha police officers at the right rear of his vehicle.

In the video, it appeared the officers were trying to restrain the suspect before he got up and walked away from them.

The new perspective on the shooting lends additional context to the first viral video that was released that showed an officer shooting Blake in the back multiple times as he leaned into the SUV.

The witness who filmed it, 22-year-old Raysean White, told NBC News he saw “police out there wrestling” with the man who was later identified as Blake.

White said he witnessed a female officer deploying a Taser at Blake right before he started filming.

The video showed two police officers, with their weapons drawn, following Blake around a gray SUV as he made his way to the driver’s door.

“They were also yelling drop the knife,” White told NBC News. “I didn’t see any weapons in his hands, he wasn’t being violent.”

But the second video released proved that witnesses’ reports that Blake wasn’t fighting with police before he was shot were untrue.

And White’s video revealed an object in Blake’s left hand as he ran from police that looked like a Karambit.

Was Jacob Blake Armed?

Officials have not confirmed that Blake had a knife, or if it was a Karambit, but the fact that witnesses reported police were yelling at him to “drop the knife” lends credibility to the theory that he was armed with a blade.

Although there is no bodycam video for investigators to rely on, Kenosha police do wear microphones and police vehicles have dashcams.

Authorities have not yet released any details about what may have been recorded, nor have they expanded on what led up to the shooting other than to say officers were responding to a domestic incident, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

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Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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