Kenosha police union says Jacob Blake assaulted officers, had knife in hand during altercation

Kenosha Professional Police Association on Friday slammed "purely fictional depiction of events."

Updated: August 29, 2020 - 11:23am

A police union in Kenosha, Wisconsin has released what it says are the "actual and undisputed facts" surrounding the shooting incident involving Jacob Blake, claiming that Blake himself was armed with a knife during his altercation with police and that he fought with them prior to being shot by an officer. 

The shooting of Blake was captured on video on Sunday, Aug. 23. In the video, Blake is seen coming around to the driver's side of a vehicle as police shout at him to stop; after he does not comply and reaches inside his vehicle, one officer shoots him multiple times in the back. 

The video touched off nationwide protests, some of them violent, with Black Lives Matter activists claiming Blake was the victim of a racist and unjust police shooting. The Kenosha Professional Police Association on Friday pushed back against that narrative, claiming Blake had assaulted officers and that he was armed with a knife during the incident. 

Wisconsin State Sen. Steve Nass on Friday posted online a press release from the KPPA. In it, the union states that it "believe[s] the public deserves to know the truth" regarding the incident. 

Among the claims made in the release, the union says that Blake "was armed with a knife" during the incident. 

"The officers did not see the knife initially," the statement says. "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 statement continues. "The officers issued repeated commands for Mr. Blake to drop the knife. He did not comply."

The press release says that officers were called to the scene due to a complaint that Blake was attempting to steal a vehicle. Upon arriving, officers first attempted to speak to Blake, after which they attempted to physically subdue him, including using two tasers, none of which worked, according to police. 

"Mr. Blake forcefully fought with the officers, including putting one of the officers in a headlock," the statement says. 

"The officers involved gave Mr. Blake numerous opportunities to comply," the statement adds. "He chose not to. None of the officers involved wished for things to transpire the way it did."

Widely circulated video of the shooting is not conclusive as to whether or not Blake was armed with a knife just prior to the shooting. Footage shot from another angle is similarly inconclusive.

Jacob Blake's uncle, meanwhile, said on Saturday that the claims in that statement were "insulting."

"We're not going to allow them to come back a week later and talk about some type of weapon being involved after they temporarily paralyzed my nephew," h said. 

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