Jacob Blake Jr., the Black man who was left paralyzed after being shot in the back seven times by a White officer last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has filed a lawsuit against the officer who fired at him.
Blake on Thursday filed a civil lawsuit alleging Officer Rusten Sheskey used excessive force against him while he was getting into a vehicle during a domestic dispute last August. The 18-page lawsuit includes still photos capturing each shot fired by Officer Sheskey, according to The Associated Press. The goal is to show that the officer’s actions were “undertaken with malice, willfulness, and reckless indifference to the rights” of Blake. The lawsuit also alleges Blake’s children, who were seated in the vehicle at the time of the shooting, were put in danger because of Sheskey’s actions.
On August 23, 2020, Officer Sheskey and two other officers were attempting to arrest Blake on the grounds of an outstanding warrant. That’s when police say a pocket knife fell out of Blake’s pants during a tussle. Blake says he then picked up the knife and headed in the direction of his vehicle. He says he planned to drive away from the officers because two of his children were sitting in the back seat of his car. He also said he was prepared to surrender once he placed the pocket knife in the vehicle. At some point he was struck in the back by Officer Sheskey, who told investigators that he shot Blake in the back because he feared for his life.
The shooting, which took place just three months after Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd, shifted the nation’s attention to Wisconsin. Many took to the streets demanding Sheskey and the two other officers involved be terminated and charged with shooting Blake. Authorities, however, declined to file criminal charges against Sheskey. Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said Sheskey was defending himself and believed he was going to be stabbed by Blake.