Jacob Blake Was Shackled in Hospital Bed After Police Shot Him


The authorities said an earlier sexual assault charge was the reason for the restraints, which were removed on Friday. Days after a Kenosha police officer shot Jacob Blake outside an apartment building, the authorities on Friday provided new details on what led up to the videotaped encounter that has prompted heated street protests and calls for reform. Law enforcement officials said that in recent days they had shackled Mr. Blake to his hospital bed, where he is paralyzed from the waist down from his wounds because he faced an arrest warrant from July on charges of third-degree sexual assault, criminal trespass, and disorderly conduct. The same woman who had filed that complaint had called 911 before the shooting on Sunday to report Mr. Blake’s presence to the police, according to interviews and records. Some onlookers and Ben Crump, the civil rights lawyer who is representing Mr. Blake, have described Mr. Blake as a peacemaker who was seeking to break up a disturbance involving two women when the police arrived.


On Friday afternoon in Wisconsin, near the spot where Officer Rusten Sheskey fired at Mr. Blake seven times, some of those who knew Mr. Blake said the authorities were attempting to justify a clear-cut instance of excessive force by tarnishing his reputation. “They’re trying to reverse it and make it seem like he was such a criminal,” said Jesse Franklin, a community activist who described Mr. Blake as a laid-back father who spent considerable time with his children. “The whole point is, I don’t care if he’s a criminal or has a record. Your life matters, too. He’s not less of a man. He’s a human being with kids, with a family, with a heartbeat.” At a news conference on Friday, Chief Daniel Miskinis of the Kenosha Police Department said he believed that the officers knew of the outstanding warrant when they responded to the call about a domestic dispute.


The outstanding warrant, he said, would have brought a “heightened awareness” to the dynamic between the officers and Mr. Blake. “There was some resisting on the basis of that contact and the arrest, so that is what changed the dynamics,” he said. The union representing Kenosha police officers issued a statement on the events that led up to the shooting, suggesting that Mr. Blake had strongly resisted arrest, fighting with officers, putting one in a headlock, and ignoring orders to drop a knife that he held in his left hand. “None of the officers involved wished for things to transpire the way it did,” Brendan P. Matthews, a lawyer representing the union, said. “It is my hope that truth and transparency will help begin and aid in the healing process.” The shooting was troubling enough that Mayor John Antaramian of Kenosha said in an interview on Friday that it “was a situation that, I think, caught all of us a little off guard.”


The Police Department “has had some very good rules in dealing with the use of force,” he added, though he stopped short of saying whether he believed that the officers violated the use-of-force rules. Protests have played out around the country in recent days, and more were planned over the weekend. On Friday, thousands of protesters gathered in Washington at the Lincoln Memorial for an event aimed at rekindling the spirit of the 1963 March on Washington in which the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. The family of Mr. Blake was among relatives of victims of police violence who spoke from a lectern at the base of the memorial.


In an interview later on Friday, the elder Mr. Blake said he planned to take part in a rally in Kenosha in honor of his son on Saturday. He said he had not heard from officials of that city since the shooting. “My plan is to march peacefully,” he said. “I would like the chief of police or somebody up high to come outside and explain to me, face to face, why it was OK for that police officer to put seven shots in my son’s back.” Court documents filed in the July case against Jacob Blake show that the woman who filed the complaint said he had broken into her home while she was asleep and assaulted her. The woman told the police that Mr. Blake also took her car and debit card, the documents show.




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