Jacob Blake, the Wisconsin man who was shot seven times in the back by white police officer Rusten Sheskey in front of his children, is breaking his silence on the near-fatal shooting that left him partially paralyzed.
In an interview with ABC News’ Michael Strahan that was conducted Tuesday and aired Thursday on “Good Morning America,” the 29-year-old father of six breaks his silence on the incident that sparked protests around the country against systemic racism.
“I didn’t want to be the next George Floyd,” Blake told Strahan, referencing the Minnesota man who died after a white cop pinned a knee to his neck. “I didn’t want to die.”
On August 23, Blake was at the home of Laquisha Booker, the mother of three of his children, celebrating their son Israel’s eighth birthday. Blake said Booker got into an argument with a neighbor.
However, in a call to 911, Booker is heard saying, “Yes, I need an officer. Jacob Blake is here, and he has the keys to a rental that I purchased that I need to take back, and he’s not trying to release it.”
That’s when three officers from the Kenosha Police Department responded to the “family trouble” incident, and are notified there’s a warrant for Blake’s arrest on charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct, and third-degree sexual assault, stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident earlier that summer. (Prosecutors later dropped the sexual assault charge, and Blake pleaded guilty to two counts of disorderly conduct and was sentenced to two years of probation.)
When cops arrive, Blake — who said he didn’t believe police were there for him — said he was putting one of his children in the car and felt someone grab his arm.
“I took — took my arm away,” he recalled, adding, “After I did that, I realize that it was the police and it was like, ‘Uh-oh,’ ’cause when I did that, he slammed me up against the truck.”
According to a report from the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office, Sheskey said he approached Blake and told him, “Let’s talk about this.” Sheskey said he then grabbed Blake’s arm to arrest him and mentioned the warrant. However, Blake claims the officers didn’t say anything to him.
After a struggle, police allege that Blake may have potentially reached for a weapon multiple times, which Blake denies. Sheskey then deployed his Taser multiple times, but Blake pulled the prongs out of his skin.
“I’m rattled,” Blake recalled. “I realized I had dropped my knife, had a little pocket knife. So I picked it up after I got off of him because they tased me and I fell on top of him.”
According to ABC News, Blake had “an open knife in hand that Blake said fell out of his pocket.”
As seen in a widely circulated social media video, Blake is seen walking around the vehicle to the driver’s side door.
Blake said he walked to the front of his vehicle so he could put the knife in the car. He said he intended to then surrender to police.
“I shouldn’t have picked it up, only considering what was going on,” he said. “At that time, I wasn’t thinking clearly.”
However, per a report, Sheskey claims Blake allegedly drove the knife toward his body, which Blake denies.
When Blake opens the car door, Sheskey grabs the back of his shirt and shoots him seven times.
While Sheskey told investigators that he had given Blake numerous opportunities to “stop resisting,” Blake said he couldn’t hear anything.
“All I heard was screaming,” he said. “My ears was ringing, so it was all muffled.”
When the shooting stopped, Blake said he told his kids in the car, “Daddy love you no matter what.”
“I thought that was going to be the last thing I say to them,” he said. “Thank God it wasn’t.”
In an @ABC exclusive interview, Jacob Blake reveals what he thought were his last moments alive after Kenosha police shot him in the back 7x in front of his kids. But Jacob and his sons' trauma has extended far beyond that moment! pic.twitter.com/kao4dXWF1O— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) January 14, 2021
Earlier this month, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced that Sheskey will not face charges, as evidence reportedly shows that he fired in self-defense. Additionally, neither the other officers involved nor Blake himself will be prosecuted.