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Officials Refuse To Say If Jacob Blake Was Armed When Police Shot Him

Kenosha, WI – Officials have refused to provide details about the officer-involved shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake that sparked violent riots in the city, including whether he was armed at any point during the incident.

The Wisconsin Department of Criminal Justice is handling the investigation of the incident that left Blake with multiple gunshot wounds, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Blake’s father said on Tuesday that his son was paralyzed from the waist down from the shooting, but also said they weren’t sure if the paralysis would be permanent, NBC News reported.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul provided little new information to reporters at a press conference on Monday.

Kaul refused to answer questions about whether Blake was armed and would not say how many officers were involved in the incident, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Officials said earlier in the day that the officers involved had been placed on paid administrative leave while the incident was investigated, as is protocol for all officer-involved shootings.

“We understand that there is a need for this investigation to move swiftly,” Kaul said. “But we’re only going to do so to the extent that is consistent with protecting the integrity of this investigation, because it is vital we get as full and thorough investigation as possible so we can pursue justice fully in this case.”

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the U.S. Attorney’s Office had offered its assistance.

“It’s my hope that they will do a parallel civil rights investigation. I’m hoping they will do an investigation that takes place at the same time, which will allow this community to heal sooner,” Graveley said.

Kenosha police have not released any details about the incident that began just after 5 p.m. on Aug. 23 when officers responded to a call about a domestic incident at a home in the 2800-block of 40th Street in Kenosha, WTMJ reported.

Two cell phone videos of the incident have been shared to social media.

The first video quickly went viral and sparked riots in Kenosha and several other cities across the country.

It showed Kenosha police officers with weapons drawn chasing Blake around his car telling him to drop a knife.

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

The video showed Blake carrying an object which could have been a curved-blade knife.

Then when Blake ignored police officers’ commands to stop and leaned inside the driver’s door, the video showed an officer opened fire on him from behind.

A second video was released on Monday and showed that Blake was fighting with police officers at the rear of his SUV before he got up and headed around the car.

Blake’s partner, Laquisha Booker, told WTMJ that she and Blake have three children together and that all three of the kids were inside the SUV when their father was shot.

“That man just literally grabbed him by his shirt and looked the other way and was just shooting him. With the kids in the back screaming. Screaming,” she told WTMJ.

Booker claimed that Blake wasn’t armed.

“That don’t make sense that you treat somebody like that, who’s not armed. He ain’t throw no punch or nothing,” she said.

But the video of Blake fighting with police before he was shot proved Booker had lied.

Kenosha police are not equipped with bodycams, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Authorities have not said whether any part of the incident was captured by the officers’ dashcams.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers was quick to condemn the police in a statement on Sunday night, long before any investigation could have determined what happened, WTMJ reported.

“Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin… While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country,” Evers said.

“We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity, and accountability for Black lives in our country—lives like those of George Floyd, of Breonna Taylor, Tony Robinson, Dontre Hamilton, Ernest Lacy, and Sylville Smith,” the governor said. “And we stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.”

Violent riots have rocked Kenosha for two nights in the wake of the shooting.

The governor called in the Wisconsin National Guard on Monday to help local law enforcement protect the city.

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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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