By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Seven. That is the number of times a police officer shot Jacob Blake while his children sat horrified in the car. The shooting occurred 40 miles away from Milwaukee in Kenosha on the evening of Sunday, Aug. 23. Four days later, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul identified the officer who shot Blake.
Kaul held a press conference on Wednesday, Aug. 26 during which he identified the Kenosha Police Officer as Officer Rusten Sheskey. Sheskey has served the Kenosha Police Department for seven years.
Kaul said the investigation into the shooting is currently ongoing. The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Criminal Investigation Division is investigating the shooting.
During the press conference, Kaul provided updates on the situation that took place Sunday evening. He said police were dispatched to the 2800 block of 40th Street after receiving a call from a woman reporting that her boyfriend was in the premises despite being prohibited from being there. After arriving on the scene, police attempted to arrest
Blake and used a taser to stop him but were unsuccessful. Kaul said Blake proceeded to walk around the vehicle, opened his car door and leaned forward.
“While holding on to Mr. Blake’s shirt, Officer Rusten Sheskey fired his service weapon seven times,” Kaul said. “Officer Sheskey fired the weapon into Mr. Blake’s back. No other officer fired their weapon.”
Officers in the Kenosha Police Department do not wear body cameras, Kaul said. However, two videos of the shooting made its way around social media. The first video showed Blake opening the driver’s side of his car as the police followed closely behind.
People were asked to stop sharing the video on social media after many people noted that the sharing and viewing of the video was harmful and added to the desensitization of the situation.
Urban Milwaukee reported that Kenosha Police Daniel Miskinis said the three officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrate leave.
According to Kaul, Blake admitted to having a knife, which was found on the floorboard of the driver’s side by the Criminal Investigation Division. After searching the car, investigators reported that no additional weapons were found.
Blake received immediate medical attention and Flight for Life airlifted him to Froedtert Medical College in Milwaukee. Family attorneys reported that Blake is paralyzed.
The shooting of Blake, 29, is not the first time a police officer has shot a Black man. And unfortunately, it is unlikely to be the last. Following the shooting, protestors gathered in Kenosha to march.
The march took a turn when protestors set several cars and buildings on fire, followed by looting and other violence. Julia Jackson, Blake’s mother, requested that the protests remain peaceful, according to CNN.
“When you say the name Jacob Blake, make sure you say father, make sure you say cousin, make sure you say uncle, but most importantly make sure you say human,” Letetra Wideman, Blake’s sister said during a press conference.
Widman, 30, said a lot of people reached out saying they were sorry this happened to her family. Widman said this has been happening for a long time, citing the shootings of Emmett Till, Mike Brown and several others.
“This is nothing new,” Widman said. “I’m not sad; I’m not sorry; I’m angry and I’m tired. I don’t want your pity, I want change.”
The Criminal Investigation Division is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Wisconsin State Patrol and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office. A report is expected to be handed to the prosecutor within 30 days, Kaul said.
District Attorney Michael Graveley’s office will decide if charges are to be filed.
The unrest unfolding in Kenosha was further amplified after the death and shooting of several protestors by Kyle Rittenhouse on Tuesday, Aug. 25.
Rittenhouse, a 17-year old white male, had been seen carrying the rifle during the protests and a video showed police officers offering him water. Rittenhouse shot several people and killed two of them. He has since been charged with first-degree intentional homicide.
Kaul said that what happened Tuesday night was despicable.