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HomeWRN VoicesGov. Tony Evers' Appalling Statement on the Jacob Blake Shooting Anniversary

Gov. Tony Evers’ Appalling Statement on the Jacob Blake Shooting Anniversary

Gov. Tony Evers released an appalling statement on Aug. 23, 2021, one year after a police officer shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in self-defense. Apparently, Evers has learned nothing from the inciting, outrageous statement he released right after the shooting first occurred, which arguably incited riots and arson fires, part of which was:

“While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country.”

Evers never took responsibility for releasing the outrageous statement. Instead, he doubled down on the one-year anniversary, issuing a despicable press release that is arguably even worse because the District Attorney has now exonerated the police officer.

Let’s take his most recent statement line by line.

Evers wrote: “One year ago today, Jacob Blake’s life was forever changed.”

What Evers doesn’t mention:

The life of Police Officer Rusten Sheskey – who was mercilessly and unfairly slammed by the media, left, Evers, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, and others – also was forever changed. He was ultimately exonerated by the District Attorney, but not before a despicable rush to judgment. The lives of all Kenosha law enforcement officers were forever changed by the unfair and negative narratives against police fomented by Evers, Barnes, the media, and others.

The lives of Kenosha business owners were also forever changed, especially those whose livelihoods burned to the ground in arson fires that might have been prevented if Evers had gotten the National Guard to Kenosha in a more timely fashion.

Evers: “We also know the families and friends of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber are undoubtedly grieving and mourning the loss of these young men this week.”

What Evers doesn’t mention:

Rosenbaum was a registered sex offender who was out on bond for a domestic abuse battery accusation and was caught on video acting aggressively earlier that night. Huber was a felon convicted in a strangulation case who was recently accused of domestic abuse. Rosenbaum was also caught on video using a racial slur earlier that night. “Shoot me (n word),” he says in a video.

The criminal complaint alleges that Rosenbaum was trailing teenager Kyle Rittenhouse, threw a plastic bag at him, initially tried to engage him, advanced toward him, and was trying to grab Rittenhouse’s gun when he was shot. It says that Rittenhouse, 17, was trying to evade Rosenbaum. The New York Times says a gunshot fired by an unknown person was heard right before Rittenhouse fired. Others were also chasing Rittenhouse at the time, video shows.

The criminal complaint against Rittenhouse says Huber was also trying to grab Rittenhouse’s gun and his skateboard made physical contact with Rittenhouse right before Rittenhouse shot him.

Rittenhouse is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and has not yet stood trial. It is outrageously inappropriate for the governor to weigh in before he has; it could arguably taint the jury pool.

Evers: “While we are grateful Jacob survived his injuries, we also know Jacob, his kids, and his family have and will face challenges they never imagined having to endure.”

What Evers doesn’t mention:

Evers doesn’t mention the role Blake played in what happened to him, including the fact he was wanted on a felony warrant involving domestic violence and a sexual assault charge. He also doesn’t mention that the police officer was found – by a Democratic DA and retired black police chief – to have acted in justified self-defense.

According to the DA’s report, here are some other facts that Evers leaves out:

  • 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.
  • 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 stated that he fired shots until Jacob Blake dropped the knife. (Retired Police Chief) Noble Wray explained this is consistent with law enforcement training where officers are instructed to continue shooting until they stop the threat

Evers: “Kathy and I are thinking of Jacob and his loved ones, as well as the families and friends of Joseph and Anthony today, and we ask Wisconsinites to join us in extending our prayers for peace and healing.”

What Evers doesn’t mention:

This kind of incendiary, one-sided, and outrageous statement hardly leads to “peace and healing.” It’s too bad Kathy and Tony aren’t also “thinking” of Kenosha police officers and business owners today. Are they thinking about the woman who called police in the first place?

Evers: “This past year has been difficult, and especially for the Kenosha community as they have worked to come together to repair and rebuild. Wisconsin has taken important steps to increase transparency for use of force policies and incidents, limit the use of chokeholds, and require state-managed law enforcement agencies to update their use of force policies, but this is only the beginning. We must remain resolved in addressing the systemic racism and inequities Black Wisconsinites face every day and to continuing our work toward a just, equitable, and fair state.”

What Evers doesn’t mention:

There is no evidence that race or “systemic racism” or “inequities” against black Wisconsinites played any role in the Blake shooting. Certainly, the DA and retired black police chief did not find such.

It’s also faulty logic to use a police shooting conducted in self-defense as a predicate for police reform statewide.

How about the mother of Jacob Blake’s children who had accused Blake of sexually assaulting her? Does she get a mention? Those charges were later dropped in a plea deal.

Evers Jacob Blake


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