Earlier, August 2020: Kenosha Police Union Statement: Blake Had A Knife, Put Officer In Headlock
In baseball, the Mendoza Line is the batting average at which a good glove/no bat middle infielder, like 1970s shortstop Mario Mendoza, can stay, barely, in the major leagues. In his 9 year career in the big leagues, Mendoza averaged per 162 games .215 batting average / 1 homer / 25 RBIs. (For the kids, he had a lifetime OPS of .507.) Baseball players live in dread of sinking beneath the Mendoza Line, at which point their days in The Show are over.
Mendoza looks like me if I were a 1979 Mexican shortstop played in the biopic of my life by Weird Al Yankovic.
As a few cynical observers have noticed over the years, Black Lives Matter has a really bad batting average at picking cases to trumpet as proof that whites are out to murder blacks for Racism. How many cities has BLM burned down in cases that turned out to be the black guy’s fault?
As I pointed out months ago, this shooting was a prototypical domestic dispute disaster.
You would never ever hear about a white Jacob Blake who got shot by the Kenosha cops.
Here’s the Kenosha DA’s report:
On August 23, 2020, the officers in this incident were responding to a family trouble call which they knew was between a woman and the father of her children. This may seem like a footnote, but it is actually urgently important. Unlike many other types of calls, when police are responding to domestic violence calls they must be ready to enter a scene that is unpredictable and combustible. Police responding to domestic disturbances must be prepared to encounter not just violent behavior, but also potentially controlling behavior by perpetrators towards victims. Police must also consider the particular danger that domestic violence situations present to children, even when those children are not the direct targets of the violence.
When Officer Sheskey, Officer Meronek, and Officer Arenas responded to this call on August 23, 2020, they knew they were responding to a domestic disturbance and they knew the man who was the subject of the call, Jacob Blake, had a warrant for his arrest from a prior incident where he was charged with domestic violence offenses and a sexual assault. Every decision the officers made during this incident, in response to this call, must be interpreted in light of those facts.
Factual and Legal Conclusions Based on all of the material gathered in this investigation by DCI, the evidence establishes the following facts:
- On Sunday, August 23, 2020, at approximately 5:10 pm, Laquisha Booker, the mother of Jacob Blake’s children, called the police reporting that Jacob Blake had taken the keys to her rental vehicle which he would not return to her. Laquisha Booker stated that she was afraid that Jacob Blake was going to take her vehicle and crash it as, she stated, he had done before.
- As a result of this call, Officer Sheskey, Officer Meronek, and Officer Arenas were dispatched to Laquisha Booker’s residence located at 2805 40th St. in the City of Kenosha.
- Responding officers were told that this was a “family trouble” call involving a dispute over car keys between Jacob Blake and the mother of his children.
- Jacob Blake had a felony warrant for his arrest.
- The involved officers knew Jacob Blake had a felony warrant for his arrest and knew that the warrant involved domestic violence charges and a sexual assault charge.
- Officer Sheskey obtained a description of Jacob Blake and knew he would have to arrest Jacob Blake on the warrant if he encountered him.
- When officers arrived, Laquisha Booker flagged them down and shouted statements identifying Jacob Blake as the other person involved and indicating that he was trying to take her car, stating, “My kids are in the car.”
- Officer Sheskey saw Jacob Blake and saw him putting a child in the back of the vehicle in question, a gray Dodge SUV.
- Officer Sheskey immediately attempted to arrest Jacob Blake based on his active warrant and was quickly assisted by Officer Arenas and Officer Meronek.
- Jacob Blake knew there was a warrant out for his arrest.
- Jacob Blake did not comply with the verbal commands of officers as they attempted to arrest him.
- When the officers attempted to physically restrain Jacob Blake, he resisted, physically struggling with officers.
- Officers brought Jacob Blake to the ground, but he was able to get off the ground and to get away from the officers trying to arrest him.
- During this struggle, Officer Sheskey and Officer Arenas both attempted to subdue Jacob Blake by deploying their tasers.
- Both times that Jacob Blake was struck with the tasers, he ripped out the taser wires/prongs making the tasers ineffective against him.
- Officer Sheskey also attempted to drive stun Jacob Blake with his taser by applying the taser to Jacob Blake’s neck/back area, but that too was ineffective.
- As he resisted arrest, Jacob Blake was armed with a knife.
- By the time he was walking in front of the SUV, the knife was opened and the blade was exposed.
- Jacob Blake did not comply with police commands to drop the knife.
- Jacob Blake tried to enter the driver’s door of the SUV.
- The SUV had been rented by Laquisha Booker in her name and Laquisha Booker had indicated to police that Jacob Blake did not have permission to drive the vehicle.
- There were children in the SUV who Laquisha Booker had yelled were her children.
- Jacob Blake had the opened knife in his right hand and was attempting to escape from Officer Sheskey’s grasp and enter the driver’s side of the SUV.
- Both Officer Sheskey and Officer Arenas stated that in the moment before Officer Sheskey opened fire, Jacob Blake twisted his body, moving his right hand with the knife towards Officer Sheskey.
- Two citizen witnesses saw Jacob Blake’s body turn in a manner that appears consistent with what the officers described.
- Officer Sheskey shot Jacob Blake seven times in total. There were four entrance wounds to Jacob Blake’s back and three entrance wounds to his left side (flank).
- Officer Sheskey stated that he fired shots until Jacob Blake dropped the knife. Noble Wray explained this is consistent with law enforcement training where officers are instructed to continue shooting until they stop the threat.
With these facts established, I do not believe the State could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Sheskey was not acting lawfully in self-defense or defense of others which is the legal standard the State would have to meet to obtain a criminal conviction in this case. I also do not believe that there are any viable criminal charges against Officer Meronek or Officer Arenas neither of whom fired a shot in this case.
Yes, there must be better ways to handle these kind of domestic disputes. My guess is that our society’s turn effort against domestic violence in recent decades has gotten more guys shot by the cops in cases like this. What exactly the best tradeoff is needs to be studied more closely. Perhaps the police in one of the rowdier European countries such as Finland have a better policy.
But, obviously, the media and the Democratic politicians such as the governor of Wisconsin and Joe Biden were irresponsible in calling this an example of racism against blacks. A white guy who behaved like Jacob Blake did would likely get himself shot. The main difference would be that nobody outside of Kenosha ever would have heard of the case.