Before being identified as the police officer captured in a viral video in which he shoots a black man several times in the back, Rusten Sheskey cycled around the lakeside town of Kenosha, Wis., As part of the patrol. by bike and walked through the mall. during the holidays.
He would occasionally bring back a group car from work and turn on the siren for the neighborhood kids, a neighbor recalls. An American flag flies in front of his house in a bourgeois neighborhood.
But five days after Sheskey’s shooting of Jacob Blake, 29, sparked protests and riots on the generally quiet streets of Kenosha, much remains unknown about the seven-year-old veteran officer and what prompted him to start the fire.
Authorities have declined to provide information on a number of critical issues in the turbulent days since Blake was shot. More importantly, they didn’t provide any detailed explanation as to why Sheskey used deadly force on Blake as he leaned into a parked car.
Police and city officials also did not respond to requests for public records regarding Sheskey’s history with the department, including previous uses of force or disciplinary issues. According to a note from the police chief posted on the city’s website, Sheskey received a one-day suspension in 2017 for a violation regarding “the safe operation of departmental vehicles.”
Meanwhile, Blake remains handcuffed to a hospital bed. He was left paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the shooting, which took place in front of three of his young children who were in the car.
Dispatch records indicate that Sheskey and other agents responded to a complaint from a woman that Blake was not supposed to be at her residence and would not be leaving. She also said he took his keys and would not return them.
At a press conference Wednesday, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said officers tasered Blake before the shooting, but it “failed.” Kaul said Blake admitted to owning a knife and officers retrieved one from the floor of the car he was leaning in when Sheskey opened fire. Kaul did not say if Blake brandished the gun or what specific reason Sheskey gave for firing multiple shots.
Blake’s family have also demanded answers, wondering why Sheskey decided to use a gun to resolve the situation. At a press conference on Tuesday, Blake’s family lawyer Ben Crump called for the officer’s arrest.
“We demand that the prosecutor arrest the officer who shot Jacob Blake. And we also demand that those officers who violated the policies and their training be immediately terminated, ”he said.
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Learn more about the Wisconsin Attorney General’s investigation: