The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation has named the Kenosha police officer currently being investigated in the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake. Rusten Sheskey has been with the Kenosha Police Department for seven years, according to a release.
The DCI is heading up the investigation into Sheskey, who was the only officer at the scene to discharge his firearm; they’re being assisted by the FBI, Wisconsin State Patrol and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office. Sheskey is currently on administrative leave.
Sheskey came into contact with Blake, a black man, when police responded to a call Sunday in a residential area after a woman called to report that “her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises,” according to the DCI’s release. Blake was reportedly attempting to break up a verbal altercation between two women when the cops arrived on the scene. A now-viral video shows Blake moving toward the driver’s seat of his car when Sheskey grabs his T-shirt and fires seven times at the man’s back. Blake’s three sons were in the car at the time.
The DCI reports that police tried to subdue Blake with a taser before the shooting. Blake reportedly told police following the incident that he had a knife in his car, but the DCI’s release does not indicate whether Blake was reaching for the weapon at the time of the shooting or if he was merely climbing into his vehicle. Blake remains in stable condition but his family has said he will be paralyzed from the waist down. His family has retained lawyer Benjamin Crump, who also represents the families of police shooting victims George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Protests broke out following Blake’s shooting, building each night in Kenosha and surrounding areas as Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers imposed emergency curfews and called in the National Guard. Tuesday evening, demonstrators clashed with a group of armed men outside a gas station, which they aimed to protect. In the melee, two people were shot and killed and one was injured. Wednesday, Illinois resident Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was arrested and charged with first-degree homicide.