Kenosha, WI – Jacob Blake pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and Kenosha prosecutors dropped sexual assault charges against him on Friday and said the mother of Blake’s children had stopped cooperating with investigators.
Blake appeared at the virtual hearing on Nov.6 from a rehab facility in Illinois where he is undergoing therapy for the injuries he received when he tried to pull a knife on Kenosha police on Aug. 23, the Kenosha News reported.
“Honestly, your honor, although I pled guilty to this, I don’t consider myself to be guilty,” Blake told Judge Bruce Schroeder at the hearing. “I pretty much took this opportunity to get to see my children quicker.”
But the special prosecutor assigned to the case, Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld, said that state went with the plea agreement because Laquisha Booker, the woman who had accused Blake of sexual assault in May, had stopped cooperating with the prosecution after Blake was shot, the Kenosha News reported.
“This was an agreement reached partly because the victim in this matter was not responsive to the subpoena to appear in court,” Wiedenfeld explained.
The special prosecutor said Booker had stopped returning messages and stepped back from her earlier allegations against the father of her children, the Kenosha News reported.
But he recounted a long history of domestic abuse and property dispute 911 calls about Blake to police going back to 2016, including a case in which the visibility-bruised victim told police Blake had punched and choked her.
Wiedenfeld also said Blake had fought police in 2015 when he was caught drunk with a gun he had been accused of pulling out in a bar, the Kenosha News reported.
“He actively resisted officers taking him into custody,” Wiedenfeld said. “An officer was injured during that scuffle with him as well.”
The special prosecutors said in court that Blake’s “pattern and history gives credence and credibility to what the victim told officers at the time of this incident that we are sentencing for,” according to the Kenosha News.
The judge sentenced Blake to two months of probation under the plea deal.
Blake’s defense attorneys had requested a fine instead of probation, but Schroeder put the kibosh on that and called Blake a “ghastly example for these children” and said his behavior was “disturbing,” according to the Kenosha News.
“But your life has changed dramatically and perpetually,” the judge said. “I hope that [your medical condition] will improve and that you’ll do better, but it does make unrealistic the suggestion that you be imprisoned for these cases.”
The investigation into the police-involved shooting of Blake in August is ongoing, the Kenosha News reported.
Police responded to the home of Laquisha Booker, the mother of Blake’s children, after she called 911 and had told them Blake “isn’t supposed to be there and he took the complainant’s keys and is refusing to give them back,” according to a statement from the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI).
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.
Brendan Matthews, attorney for the Kenosha Professional Police Association, 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 the attack on Booker 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.”
At the time of the shooting, Blake was wanted on felony charges for rape and domestic abuse.