Jacob Blake’s Family Accuses Kenosha Police Officer of Constitutional Violation in New Lawsuit

March 26, 2021 Updated: March 26, 2021

Jacob Blake’s family on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey for the August 2020 shooting that triggered protests and riots.

The federal civil rights suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, claims that Sheskey used excessive and deadly force without cause of justification, in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.

That misconduct, lawyers asserted, “was undertaken with malice, willfulness, and reckless indifference to the rights of Plaintiff.”

As a result of the force, Blake has suffered and will continue to suffer both physical and emotional damages.

“While Jacob Blake survived being shot six times, his devastating injuries are permanent and life-changing. The bullet that severed Jacob’s spinal cord has left him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Jacob now suffers from an intractable pain syndrome. After various surgical procedures and an agonizing course of physical rehabilitation, Jacob remains unable to return to his job as a security guard and relies on others to assist him with the basic needs of daily living,” Patrick Salvi II, one of Blake’s attorneys, said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times.

The suit requested a trial by jury.

Sheskey did not have an attorney listed on the court docket.

Blake was charged in July of last year with third-degree sexual assault, a felony, after his ex-girlfriend told police he went to her house, broke in, assaulted her, and stole her vehicle and a debit card. Blake and the woman, Laquisha Booker, share three children.

The following month, officers were called to a home in Kenosha after Booker reported that her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises.

jacob blake shooting
Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey in an undated photograph. (Wisconsin Department of Justice via AP)

Officers arrived and saw Blake, who had a warrant out for his arrest from the assault charge. He declared he was taking two of his children and Booker’s vehicle, while Booker indicated likewise.

Officers tried taking Blake into custody, using tasers, but he resisted.

“There are multiple ways that officers try to bring Jacob Blake into custody. Again, none of those, I think, visible in any of the videos. They try to direct him to the ground. Multiple officers try to grab his arms and secure him so he can be cuffed. He admits at one point, ‘Officers were trying to handcuff me, but I was able to get up,'” Kenosha District Attorney Mike Gravely told reporters in January.

Blake was able to walk around the vehicle and open the driver’s side door. As he leaned forward, Sheskey, while holding onto Blake’s shirt, fired his gun seven times, striking Blake in the back.

Blake was armed with a knife during the encounter with police, both his lawyers and investigators have confirmed. Blake himself said so when speaking to the authorities. Blake was “clearly armed” when moving to enter the vehicle, Gravely said, and had refused to drop the weapon.

Sheskey decided to re-engage with Blake and grabbed Blake’s T-shirt, in part because he didn’t know what the man was going to do with the children in the vehicle. He feared a hostage situation if Blake was able to enter the van and drive away.

Gravely made the decision not to charge Sheskey, based on an independent evaluation from former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray. The evaluation determined that the use of force by Sheskey was justified.

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