The Washington Post has issued a major correction admitting that Jacob Blake, the Kenosha, Wisconsin, man shot by police in August had, in fact, been armed at the time.
The Post on Tuesday claimed in a tweet that “Police officers won’t be charged in shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man who was shot 7 times in the back in Kenosha, Wis.” The article itself claimed Blake was unarmed when he was shot.
But Kenosha District Attorney Michael Gravely debunked that claim at a press conference the same day, saying it was “incontrovertible” that Blake was armed and video footage proved it.
“Very important, Jacob Blake, while actively resisting, arms himself with a knife,” Gravely said. “I continue to hear, I think I heard it at the rally last night, the vigil, where someone again said he was unarmed. It is absolutely incontrovertible that Jacob Blake was armed with a knife during this encounter. Incontrovertible. Most incontrovertible, because Jacob Blake in all of the times he spoke to DCI, admits he possessed a knife.”
The fact that Blake was armed is not new information released this week. It has been known for months, yet the media continued to claim Blake was unarmed as part of its anti-police narrative.
After claiming Blake was unarmed, the Post updated its article with a correction at the top that reads:
An earlier version of this story incorrectly described Jacob Blake as unarmed. While his family has said he was not armed when shot by police, prosecutors on Tuesday said video evidence depicts him holding a knife. The story has been corrected.
Starting in the third paragraph of the article, the Post now includes information about the knife, though it tries to downplay its role in Blake’s shooting:
Blake, who witnesses said had been trying to break up an argument between two women, was shot as he walked back toward his vehicle. In his written report, Graveley said Blake was armed with an open knife he was holding in his right hand. The report also says video footage showed Blake carrying a knife.
Investigators had previously not specified whether officers saw Blake holding a knife, saying days after the shooting that he admitted having one “in his possession.” They did not say at the time whether Blake was holding it or whether the officers involved saw it. Investigators said they found a knife on the driver’s side floor of the vehicle.
According to Graveley’s report Tuesday, Blake told investigators that he dropped the knife near the vehicle and picked it up intending to put it in the car, because it was a gift he wanted to keep. In the report, Blake is quoted as saying his knife was closed and questioning: “Why would I pull a knife on a cop . . . that’s just stupid.”
At the press conference on Tuesday, Gravely explained how Blake resisted police.
“There are many commands disobeyed and that’s not only talked about by all the officers, but that’s admitted by Jacob Blake in his statements and there are a number of civilians who talk about that as well,” Gravely said. “And 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, they try to grab, 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.’”
“There’s a time where he’s down on the ground … where a really close viewing of it shows Jacob Blake is on top of someone who has to be officer Sheskey based on everyone else and officer Sheskey says, ‘I was on top of him and then he was on top of me as we were grappling for me trying to get him under arrest,’” Gravely continued. “Most importantly, he was tased twice using remote penetrators and once with a direct strike with taser. So, I’m going to suggest to you three attempts were made to tase Jacob Blake to get him in compliance.”
It should be remembered that police were trying to arrest Blake for allegedly breaking into the home of a woman he knew and then sexually assaulting her. Blake had a felony warrant for his arrest over this allegation at the time the shooting happened. Those charges were dropped after Blake became a national hero to anti-police activists and pleaded guilty to two counts of disorderly conduct in order to get the third-degree sexual assault charge dropped.
The woman had claimed she was asleep in bed with one of her children when Blake broke into the home early in the morning and demanded his belongings. The woman told police Blake then sexually assaulted her with his finger, smelled it, and told her he believed she had been with other men.
The police officer who shot Blake said he did so after hearing a mother desperately pleading, “He’s got my kid. He’s got my keys.”
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