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WI Department of Justice evidence videos show what led up to Blake shooting

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jan 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 19:00:07-05

KENOSHA — Never before seen videos and images that were a part of the investigation into the shooting of Jacob Blake were released by the state’s Department of Justice just moments after the Kenosha County District Attorney decided not to charge the officers involved.

People around the world have seen the viral cell phone video of officer Rusten Sheskey shooting Blake, but newly released evidence provided by the state’s investigation shows far more of the encounter.

“They were physically with open hands trying to take him into custody and this went on and on and on,” said independent use-of-force investigator Noble Wray.

Wray detailed the series of events starting when the officers first approached Blake. Wray said the three officers on scene made several attempts to apprehend Blake in the 65 seconds before Sheskey shot him.

One piece of evidence found in the state’s investigative filed shows a simulation of what allegedly occurred in the moments before the shooting.

A company called Courtroom Animation says Sheskey’s attorney paid them to create several still images.

“Obviously there’s a series of events that took place before anyone pulled out a cell phone to begin recording,” said Courtroom Animation’s Brady Held.

Held said his company used 128 million data points to recreate the scene. Those data points were based on official reports the officers provided to authorities.

The depiction shows Blake putting a child in the car, Blake talking to officer Sheskey, then things got physical on the street. One simulated 3D image allegedly shows where Blake was when he was tased in the chest.

“Mr. Blake takes the taser prongs out,” Wray said.

Cell phone video obtained by the state’s Department of Justice shows the struggle that followed between Blake and Sheskey on the ground.

“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,” said Kenosha Co. District Attorney Michael Gravely.

State investigators then slow down the viral video of Blake making his way around the front of the SUV. Gravely said Blake admitted to authorities that at that time he had a knife in hand. State investigators enhanced the audio of the cell phone video, in which they hear officers say, “Drop the knife! Drop the knife! Drop the knife!”

The most critical portion of the investigation was Sheskey’s decision to fire seven shots at Blake. Wray found it to be a lawful use of force based on the circumstances and the training officers receive to shoot until the threat has stopped.

Sheskey’s attorney told TMJ4 he gave the simulated videos to the state investigators about a month ago. The Wisconsin Dept. of Justice said District Attorney Gravely requested that the simulated videos made it into the state’s final report.

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