‘I was counting down my breath, my blinks. I was like, “God, I’m coming. I guess this it for me”,’ Blake said as he spoke from his wheelchair.
‘All I remember at that point was kinda leanin’ back, lookin’ at my boys,’ he added. ‘I said: “Daddy, loves you no matter what.” I thought it was gonna be the last thing I say to them. Thank God it wasn’t.’
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Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old black man who was shot seven times by a white police officer, has recalled the moment he was gunned down in front of his children, in his first interview since the shooting
Blake said he believed he was going to die after Officer Rusten Sheskey fired seven bullets into his back in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August
The 29-year-old father of three was left partially paralyzed in August after white police officer Rusten Sheskey fired seven bullets into Blake’s back as he was entering his car.
Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department, had been responding to a domestic incident called in by the mother of Blake’s children, when a physical altercation between him and Blake ensued.
Officers had approached Blake and had grabbed him by the arm, prompting him to react. Sheskey initially deployed his stun gun, causing Blake to fall to the ground.
When he eventually got up to enter his car, Sheskey shot Blake as his three young children – aged three, five, and eight – watched on from the back seat.
His interview comes just days after the Kenosha County District Attorney announced Sheskey will not face charges over the shooting, which was deemed an act of self-defense because Blake was armed with a knife.
During the interview, Blake said he did not know why police had targeted him and claimed he was not told that they had a warrant for his arrest.
He admitted he did resist officers at one point because he did not want to get ‘beat on’ or be thrown to the ground.
Videos show the moment Blake walked from the sidewalk around the front of his SUV to his driver-side door while officers followed him with their guns pointed as they shouted at him.
At the time
Blake admits he was carrying a pocket knife at the time of the altercation but claimed the weapon had fallen during his scuffle with police
‘I didn’t wanna be the next George Floyd. I didn’t wanna die,’ Blake told Strahan.
Police allege Blake had pulled out a knife during the altercation and driven it towards Sheskey’s body.
Blake denied threatening the officer but admitted he had picked up his pocket knife after it fell during the scuffle.
‘I’m rattled. I realized I had dropped my knife, my little pocket knife. So I picked it up after I got off of him because they tased me and I fell on top of him,’ he said.
‘I shouldn’t have picked it up, considering what was going on. At that time I wasn’t thinking clearly.’
Blake explained he had not walked away from officers out of defiance, but because he was trying to leave and could not hear their orders.
‘I couldn’t hear that. All I heard was screaming. My ears were ringing so it was all muffled.
‘I had not left or tried to run at that point. When they tased me I had my hands up,’ he added.
No charges will be filed against white police officer Rusten Sheskey, who shot black man Jacob Blake seven times and left him paralyzed, Kenosha County prosecutors announced Tuesday. Sheskey pictured left and right
Blake was discharged from hospital in early October 2020 where he had been recovering for more than a month after being shot seven times by police during a domestic disturbance call in August
He now attends physical therapy multiple times a week and is scheduled to undergo his 37th surgery soon
Five months on, he revealed he has addressed the traumatic events to his children who witnessed their father’s near-death experience.
‘I’ve explained to them. I broke it down to them, like: “Daddy can die.” But for some reason I didn’t that day.’
Blake was discharged from the hospital in October and has undergone dozens of surgeries since the shooting.
He now attends physical therapy multiple times a week and is scheduled to have his 37th operation.
Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley last week announced that no law enforcement officer in the case will be charged with any criminal offense.
Blake had been celebrating his eight-year-old son’s birthday at his children’s mother’s house when an argument ensued and the police were called
Blake, 29, is pictured with his children. It remains unclear whether he will ever walk again
Graveley said Sheskey’s use of force was justified in the shooting because he couldn’t disprove the cop’s contention that he feared Blake would stab him as he tried to stop Blake from driving away with three children in an SUV.
It’s a conclusion consistent with a landmark 1989 US Supreme Court ruling that found officers ‘are often forced to make split-second judgments’ and that an officer’s reasonable fear of a threat in the heat of the moment is relevant, even if hindsight shows there was no actual threat.
But activists and Blake’s supporters say the decision not to charge Sheskey further exposes systemic racism within the criminal justice system and increases the urgency for immediate change.
The needed changes, they say, include considering not only the moment an officer pulls the trigger but also should apply to such things as rules for wearing body cameras or executing no-knock warrants.
The decision not to charge Sheskey sparked a peaceful protest in the city of Kenosha, with a small crowd gathering in front of the courthouse where they chanted ‘hands up don’t shoot’ in front of National Guard members.
Protesters march with the family of Jacob Blake during a rally against racism and police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August
Ben Crump, an attorney for Blake, does not dispute Graveley’s conclusion that his client had a knife.
However, he said citizen video of the shooting does not show Blake extending the knife and fails to demonstrate in a reasonable way that Sheskey was attacked.
‘This was not surprising, but it was appalling,’ Crump said.
‘For him to say that they could not charge because of a self-defense claim made by police is absolutely asinine and it flies in the face of all common sense when you watch the video.’
Crump said ‘the whole criminal justice and legal system engages in the intellectual justification and discrimination to support this legalized genocide of colored people.’
While states have leeway in altering laws surrounding the illegal use of force by police, that Supreme Court precedent could complicate efforts for radical overhauls.
The DA also confirmed no charges will be filed against the other two officers involved in the incident – Officers Vincent Arenas and Brittany Meronek – or against Blake.