By now, gentle readers, I’m sure you’ve read quite a bit on the shooting of Jacob Blake. If all you read was from the Lamestream Media, you’d think Blake—an unarmed father of six–was shot in the back 7 TIMES!!!!!, and ruthlessly murdered by racist cops in front of his children for no reason at all because RAAAAAAACISM! As usual, the truth is apparently quite different, because rational people believe in the truth because it’s factual, unchanging, not because it reinforces a preconceived narrative. Blake did not die, but is apparently paralyzed.
In this article, I’ll not spend a great deal of time rehashing every second of the encounter. That’s been done, and it’s unnecessary for our purposes. As always, please keep in mind I don’t have the police reports, blood test on Blake, or any of the other evidence. I’m working from my experiences as a police officer, and with the material I’ve been able to find from a variety of previously reliable sources. That said, it appears the officers were justified in everything they did, including shooting Blake.
Let us go to a statement of facts released by the Kenosha Police Union. I’ll add clarifying comments as we go:
The officers were dispatched to the location due to a complaint that Mr. Blake was attempting to steal the caller’s keys/vehicle.
Officers were aware of Mr. Blake’s open warrant for felony sexual assault (3rd degree) before they arrived on scene.
I’m not sure why the Union didn’t mention this, but the woman who called the police was the victim in the aforementioned sexual assault case. She had a protection order; Blake was violating the law by being present. Most importantly, Blake was not only committing that misdemeanor offense, he was wanted for a violent felony, which the officers knew before arriving.
Mr. Blake was not breaking up a fight between two females when officers arrived on scene.
The silver SUV seen in the widely circulated video was not Mr. Blake’s vehicle.
The vehicle was apparently owned by the woman he is accused of raping, and several of her children—I’m not sure if they were biologically his—were in the vehicle.
Mr. Blake was not unarmed. He was armed with a knife. The officers did not see the knife initially. The officers first saw him holding the knife while they were on the passenger side of the vehicle. The ‘main’ video circulating on the Internet shows Mr. Blake with the knife in his left hand when he rounds the front of the car. The officers issued repeated commands for Mr. Blake to drop the knife. He did not comply.
The person who produced the video heard the officers clearly order Blake to drop the knife at least twice. The blown up screenshot above shows a knife, apparently with a black, curved blade. It’s difficult to be sure, but from that screenshot, it appears Blake was carrying a type of knife known as a Karambit, an Indonesian fighting knife.
Various D/S/Cs have said “other than the knife, he was unarmed!” I’ll explain why that’s incredibly stupid nonsense shortly.
The officers initially tried to speak with Mr. Blake, but he was uncooperative.
The officers then began issuing verbal commands to Mr. Blake, but he was non-complaint.
The officers next went ‘hands-on’ with Mr. Blake, so as to gain compliance and control.
We’re not sure if the officers told Blake he was under arrest at that point, and if not, some will surely whine that means he has a “get out of jail free” card. Nonsense. While it’s always best to tell someone they’re under arrest, in most states it is not a necessity. In fact, an arrest occurs when a reasonable person would believe they were not free to go. Having two officers trying to put handcuffs on one would tend to provoke that understanding. There can be no doubt Blake knew he was being arrested.
Mr. Blake actively resisted the officers’ attempt to gain compliance.
Resisting arrest is a felony in Wisconsin. By this point, Blake was under arrest for at least two felonies and one misdemeanor. No police officer could allow him to simply walk away without being grossly negligent and potentially losing their career.
The officers then disengaged and drew their tasers, issuing commands to Mr. Blake that he would be tased if he did not comply.
Based on his non-compliance, one officer tased Mr. Blake. The taser did not incapacitate Mr. Blake.
What?! That’s impossible! Here, gentle readers, we encounter what I have come to call the SPOIT Factor, the Sober Police Officers In Training Factor. The techniques and tools demonstrated in clean, dry, well-lit conditions during training tend to work well indeed. They work because the officers applying the techniques or tools don’t want to injure their coworkers, and the officers playing bad guy don’t want to be injured. However, out in the real world, where bad guys are overflowing with adrenaline, rage, and a wide variety of recreational drugs in every combination imaginable, absolutely surefire, make them fall down and beg to be arrested tools and techniques often fail miserably, including Tasers. Tasers do have some effect on many people, but not all. They’re surely better than nothing, but they’re not infallible.
The officers once more went “hands-on” with Mr. Blake; again, trying to gain control of the escalating situation.
Mr. Blake forcefully fought with the officers, including putting one of the officers in a headlock.
Mr. Blake has just added felony assault on a police officer. We can reasonably believe he has assaulted both officers at this point.
A second taser (from a different officer than had deployed the initial taser) was then deployed on Mr. Blake. It did not appear to have any impact on him.
We might presume both sets of Taser barbs simply failed to penetrate Blake’s clothing or did not embed in his skin. Tasers are not like Star Trek Phasers. They use a small explosive charge to shoot two barbs attached to thin wires. If the barbs embed in the skin, the officer is able to hit the bad buy with a high volt, low amp charge. If one barb fails to penetrate, no charge/no effect. However, in this case, it appears the ranges were very short, and Blake was wearing only a sleeveless undershirt, making two failures to embed unlikely. The most likely factor? Blake was very high on something, or several somethings. It will be interesting to find out the results of blood tests.
Based on the inability to gain compliance and control after using verbal, physical and less-lethal means, the officers drew their firearms.
This too is a little odd. Obviously, two Taser failures would have told the officers they weren’t going to arrest Blake that way, and their threat level indicators would surely have risen dramatically. It has been established that Blake admitted to “having a knife in his possession,” and we know a knife, description unknown, was found on the driver’s floorboard of the car. However, the aforementioned screenshot appears to show a knife in Blake’s left hand as he and the officers round the front of the SUV.
The union account indicates the officers first saw the knife when Blake was on the passenger’s side of the vehicle. This would make sense. Breaking free of the officers, Blake was finally able to draw the knife, which is when the officers would have seen it, and that was the cause of their drawn handguns. Simultaneously, they would have ordered him to drop the knife, as apparently multiple witnesses have testified.
Mr. Blake continued to ignore the officers’ commands, even with the threat of lethal force now present.
Officer Sheskey tried to stop Blake from entering the car, and with the car door between the camera and Blake, we can’t be sure exactly what caused Sheskey to shoot. Here’s my best guess: he saw and/or felt Blake begin to turn, and/or Blake said something to him that indicated he was going to attack. Blake dropped the knife on the floor of the car when shot.
But he was only armed with a knife, and his back was turned. The officers had guns! Why didn’t they just wrestle with him or something? Because the officers know something most people don’t know: Someone armed with a knife is deadly to a minimum of 21 feet, perhaps even more, as practical experience demonstrates that even an average person with a knife can close 21 feet before they can be shot and/or stopped by a handgun-wielding victim. Practicing for this possibility is commonly known as the Tueller Drill. Officers are commonly amazed to discover how quickly that distance can be traversed, and a knife plunged into them or their throat cut. By all means take the link and read the related article, which is an interview of Dennis Tueller himself.
Every police officer is aware of this. It’s taught in every basic academy, and demonstrated repeatedly. Handguns are not Star Trek phasers that immediately disable or disintegrate bad guys with a single impact. A knife wielding attacker within 21 feet or more can easily kill you, even if you manage to get a bullet or two into him in the process. In this case, Blake was closer than at arm’s length.
The issue isn’t whether Blake was armed. The issue was whether the police, in the second before they opened fire, had a reasonable belief that he could and would shoot them. On the facts, their belief was completely reasonable. Blake was wanted on a warrant, he had a history of sexual assault, he had a history of threatening people with weapons, he’d just violently resisted arrested (whether with a knife or not does not matter), he’d apparently proven resistant to the taser, he was ignoring orders to stop, and he was reaching into the car.
Very close, but not quite complete. We can be sure the officers knew Blake was armed with a knife. He was wanted on a violent felony, and committed multiple felonies by attacking/resisting the officers. A knife is more than sufficiently deadly at those ranges, and with what is currently known, there appears to be no gun threat. The issue actually is, would a reasonable police officer, in the same situation, believe they were in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death?
If they were, they are justified in shooting to end that imminent threat. They are not required, by law or common sense, to wait for Blake to turn around so he would be more effective in maiming or killing them, and they are allowed to shoot as many times as necessary to stop the threat. If the threat is ended with a single shot, great. If it take 20, that too is lawful, as long as a reasonable police officer would have believed the criteria for the use of deadly force were present. Those seven rounds were not fired over a minute or two, but continuously, within seconds.
I recently explained the criteria in “Mostly Peaceful Protesters” And Deadly Force. Take the link for that information, but keep in mind these factors: The “innocence” factor really doesn’t apply here as the officers were called to the scene and were making a lawful arrest of a wanted felon, using appropriately escalating force. “Avoidance” likewise doesn’t really apply. The officers could not simply walk away, or let Blake drive away. He was wanted on a felony warrant, committed multiple felonies on their persons, and allowing him to drive away would have been auto theft, and there were several minors in the car.
But he shot them in front of his children! That was entirely Blake’s choice. There is every reason to believe if Blake followed the officer’s lawful orders, he would have been arrested without incident, and no one would have been harmed.
The final three factors—Imminence, Proportionality and Reasonableness–will determine the outcome of the case. Remember: the final factor will not be a reasonable citizen, but a reasonable police officer, because they have experience and training citizens do not. In effect, the threshold is higher for the police.
Final Thoughts: From all that is publically known, it appears the officers were justified in everything they did. They escalated force in response to Blake’s actions, using every tool/technique reasonably available to them before resorting to handguns. The Kenosha Police Department is handling the matter professionally. Unlike in many contemporaneous cases, the officers were not immediately fired and arrested, and the state Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the case, and apparently doing a professional job. Unfortunately, Wisconsin’s Governor and Lt. Governor have behaved shamefully, and stirred the racial pot to boiling. Their foolish actions alone—they’re Democrats, of course—suggest this case may be judged politically rather than lawfully.
Ten years ago, it would not be a close call. The officers would be given the benefit of the doubt—not that one is needed in this case—and the shooting would be ruled justified. Now however, the officers had the great misfortune to be forced to shoot a black felon. Their misfortune is compounded by the fact they’re both white. There is, in this case, not the slightest tint of racism. There is no reason whatever to believe the officers would have acted differently were Blake white or any other color of the rainbow.
For an interesting perspective, and the video of the shooting, take this link, where a former police officer, who happens to be black, explains the shooting. For the moment, we must wait for the results of the DCI’s investigation, and hope that actual justice, not social, racial justice, prevails.
One thing is clear: should the officers be cleared, as the available evidence strongly suggests they must be, there will be more rioting, lawsuits and general chaos, and the Governor and Lt. Governor of the state will bear much of the blame, which is the status quo in Democrat ruled cities/states circa 2020.
UPDATE, 09-03-20, 1730 MT: The photos that follow were provided by a reader, who notes the photo of Jacob Blake wearing a tactical vest with what is surely a Karambit–apparently a Rough Ryder G10, a folding knife–is very hard to find, and most they were able to find were cropped to remove the distinctive knife from the photo:
A Rough Ryder G10:
In this screenshot, the knife is clearer still:
There would appear to be no doubt whatsoever the Blake was armed, and with a particularly dangerous knife. Virtually all knives are potentially deadly, but an entire school of martial arts is built around the Karambit, and many wannabe commandos buy them because they look mean. We do not know if Blake was trained in the use of this knife, but any police officer seeing it in a criminal’s hand would have to approach them as though they were trained and skilled in its use. Note how close both officers were to Blake throughout the entire encounter.
Thanks again to the reader who provided these updated screenshots.
Let’s review, gentle readers: the woman Blake–a black man–allegedly raped is black. Blake is a felon who resisted arrest, and while holding a vicious fighting knife, forced a police officer to shoot him. Wasn’t the D/S/C Party supposed to be all about women? Wasn’t it supposed to be all about Black Lives Matter? Apparently not if the felon accused of raping one of those female black lives is politically useful. Oh yes, and Kamala “comma-la” Harris is also black, or Indian, or whatever is most politically useful at the moment. Can you say “hypocrisy?” I knew you could.