It was 65 seconds on a warm late summer afternoon that changed lives, tore a community apart.
On Tuesday, authorities detailed those fraught moments on Aug. 23, from the time when Kenosha police arrived in response to a domestic violence call to the seven shots officer Rusten Sheskey fired into the back and side of Jacob Blake, who was armed with a knife.
Using enhanced audio and video, and still frames, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley and use-of-force expert Noble Wray broke down the encounter during a two-hour news conference.
No charges were filed against the three officers on the scene or Blake, who was left grievously injured.
“This probably is the question that I have been asked the most, ‘why seven shots?'” Wray said. “Officers in the state of Wisconsin are trained to shoot until the threat has stopped.”
Graveley played a recording from a woman who called 911 before police arrived. She said Blake would not give her the keys to a rental vehicle and she feared he would crash the vehicle.
“He was here talking all types of crazy …,” she said, according to the 911 call played at the news conference.
Police were dispatched.
Graveley played an enhanced video that showed a glimpse of a knife in Blake’s left hand.
“It is absolutely incontrovertible that Jacob Blake was armed with a knife,” he said.
The knife was “a razor blade type knife,” the prosecutor added.
Blake told the state Division of Criminal Investigation he did not plan to use the knife in his hand, the prosecutor said.
“Why would I pull a knife on a cop?” Blake told investigators.
Graveley said police encountered what he termed “resisting behavior,” adding “three attempts were made to tase Mr. Blake to get him into compliance.”
As Blake was making his way to the vehicle, where children were seated, Sheskey grabbed his T-shirt.
The prosecutor said that Sheskey said, “and I’m trying my best to quote him, ‘I don’t know what he’s going to do? Is he going to hurt the child? Is he going to take off in the vehicle? Are we going to get a vehicle pursuit with a kid in the car?'”
The prosecutor said at that moment Blake told investigators that he switched the knife from his left hand to his right hand.
In the next photo, authorities say both Sheskey and another officer said Blake twisted his body, “putting his right hand” toward the officers.
Sheskey told investigators that the first time he felt it was appropriate to use his firearm was “the only time Jacob Blake showed any offensive intent,” Graveley said.
After firing seven times, Sheskey had 10 more bullets in his gun, Graveley said.
“So clearly he has not emptied all the chambers of his weapon,” Graveley said.
According to Graveley, Sheskey said that after he finished shooting, “Blake came to a seated situation, put his weapon away … and then he pulled out Jacob Blake and immediately began lifesaving measures on him.”
Sheskey said Blake kept saying while on the ground, “I’m going to die.” Sheskey kept saying to him, “You’re going to be okay,” as they waited for the ambulance, according to Graveley.