Yesterday late in the afternoon the Wisconsin Department of Justice released some preliminary findings with regard to its investigation into the officer-involved shooting of Jacob Blake.
Remember that the initial reports were that Blake had come to the location where his car was parked in order to help break-up an alternation between two women. Blake had his three sons in the car, but it is uncertain whether he had them when he arrived, or if he picked them up at the location of the incident.
Here is part of the report issued by the Wisconsin DOJ:
So, at the very outset we learn that Blake had not been asked to come to the location to help break up an altercation between two females, we learn that his presence at the location wasn’t welcome by his girlfriend, and there may have been legal process outstanding against him that made it illegal for him to be there, such as a Protective Order.
Next we learn that the officers were attempting to place Blake under arrest. Radio dispatch had advised the officers prior to the effort to arrest him that Blake had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Here is a copy of the record:
Six weeks prior to the incident, an arrest warrant was issued for Blake, and the underlying charges are reported to be sexual assault, trespassing, and disorderly conduct connected to domestic abuse. This is probably what his girlfriend referenced when she called the police.
So, the police were arresting Blake for reasons having nothing to do with what Blake had said or done at the scene. He was going to jail no matter what. He was not going to be allowed to enter his vehicle and drive away, and no hackneyed concept of “de-escalation” nonsense reflecting “new age” policing was going to lead to that outcome. A “warrant’ is an order from a judge that commands “Bring him before me.” The police officers do not possess “discretion” when it comes to taking someone with a warrant into custody.
The DOJ release says the officers attempted to subdue Blake using a taser device but were unsuccessful. It was at that point that Blake struggled his way out of the control of the officers, regained his feet, and walked around the front end of his car. Two officers trailed him with guns drawn but did not perceive a threat that required them to shoot. A third officer went around the back end of the car to meet Blake on the other side.
Mr. Blake then opened the driver’s side door and leaned inside. The witness who shot the video from across the street told investigators he could hear the officer yelling “Drop the knife. Drop the knife.”
Wisconsin DOJ states that in the immediate aftermath of the shooting Blake admitted that he had a knife. Investigators reported finding a knife on the driver’s side floorboard of the vehicle. Whether Blake was possessing that knife before he was shot and if fell to that location is an issue not addressed.
All the howls of outrage and protest don’t change the basic facts of this incident. Blake was going to be arrested. He had a warrant, and he may have been in violation of an existing protective order taken out by his girlfriend.
He was actively engaged in resisting a lawful arrest and was fighting with the officers.
He either actually possessed the knife that was found in his car, or he was gaining access to the area where the knife was, and the Kenosha Police Officer was aware of that as established by the witness’s statement about the officer yelling at Blake to drop the knife.
The officer shot Blake in the back because Blake was facing away from him, trying to pull away from him and get into his car. The Officer was not obligated to wait for Blake to turn around and face him, and menace him with the knife before the use of deadly force was justified.
The ability to AVOID the entire affair rested with Jacob Blake, and he made conscious and volitional decisions to not do so over and over again. Was it because he was angry? Was it because he didn’t want to go to jail? Was there some other reason.
That is information we are yet to be provided.
But the Kenosha Police Officer is not responsible for the fact that Jacob Blake’s actions left him no alternative but to shoot to defend himself and others.
Jacob Blake is responsible for Kenosha being vandalized, looted and burned, and for two other men being dead. None of it had to happen.
Jacob Blake engaged in criminal behavior.
The Kenosha Police Officer did what he was obligated to do by law.