Who Is Rusten Sheskey? Kenosha Police Officer Who Shot Jacob Blake Revealed

The white police officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back has been identified as Rusten Sheskey.

Sheskey held on to Blake's shirt and fired his gun seven times into the man's back on Sunday, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement on Wednesday.

A seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department, Sheskey was the only officer at the scene to fire their weapon, the department said. He and the other officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.

Sheskey joined the Kenosha's police force in 2013. Pictures posted on the department's Facebook page in April that year show him being sworn in as an officer alongside three others.

Rusten Sheskey
Rusten Sheskey has been identified as the officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back on Sunday. Kenosha Police Department

According to The Kenosha News, Sheskey joined the Kenosha Police Department's bike unit in 2017.

In an interview with the newspaper last year, Sheskey said he had always wanted to go into law enforcement "for the most part."

Asked what he liked most about his job, he replied that "you're dealing with people on perhaps the worst day of their lives and you can try and help them as much as you can and make that day a little bit better. And that, for the most part, people trust us to do that for them."

Calling it a "huge responsibility," he said: "I really like trying to help the people. We may not be able to make a situation right, or better, but we can maybe make it a little easier for them to handle during that time."

Sheskey added that the job was a "customer service job."

"I think that, especially with the officers that we have here, everybody strives to make sure that the public feels served and happy with the services they receive. A lot of officers go way out of their way to make sure that that's done," he said. "I think the KPD really embraces that."

Prior to joining the Kenosha Police Department, Sheskey was a police officer at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Sheskey worked on an alleged hate crime case on the campus in 2012 after a noose was found in a dorm and several Black students received death threats.

He joined the university's police department in 2010 and two years later, received a license to be a private security agent, The New York Times reported, citing Wisconsin records.

Chief Morrissey and the new officers.

Posted by Kenosha Police Department on Monday, April 1, 2013

Kenosha Police have revealed little about what prompted Sunday's shooting, saying only said that officers had been responding to a "domestic incident" at a residence in the 2800 block of 40th Street.

Now, the DOJ has revealed that officers arrived there after a woman reported that her boyfriend "was present and was not supposed to be on the premises."

The department said Sheskey shot Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, after officers first unsuccessfully used a stun gun on him, according to the DOJ.

"Mr. Blake walked around his vehicle, opened the driver's side door, and leaned forward," the DOJ said. "While holding onto Mr. Blake's shirt, Officer Rusten Sheskey fired his service weapon 7 times. Officer Sheskey fired the weapon into Mr. Blake's back. No other officer fired their weapon."

The DOJ said the incident wasn't captured on body cameras, because the Kenosha Police Department does not have them.

But a cellphone video that did capture the shooting from across the street circulated widely online, triggering unrest that has rocked Kenosha in the days since and spread to other cities.

The video showed Blake walking around the front of his vehicle as officers followed him with their weapons drawn.

As Blake leans into the driver's side door of his vehicle, an officer is seen pulling him back by grabbing his shirt. The officer is then seen opening fire at Blake's back. Seven shots are heard ringing out, but it's still not clear how many bullets struck Blake.

The DOJ said officers at the scene immediately provided medical aid to Blake, who was transported to a hospital in Milwaukee, where he remains.

Blake admitted to investigators after the shooting that he had a knife in his possession and state agents later recovered one from the driver's side floorboard of the vehicle, the DOJ said. No other weapons were located in the vehicle.

The DOJ didn't say Blake threatened anyone with the knife.

Raysean White, the man who said he filmed the widely circulated video of the shooting, told The Associated Press that he heard officers shout "Drop the knife! Drop the knife!" before they shot Blake, but said he didn't see one in his hands.

Three of Blake's three children were sitting in the back seat of the car and witnessed the shooting, Ben Crump, an attorney representing Blake's family, has said.

On Tuesday, Crump called for the officer who shot Blake to be arrested and the others involved to lose their jobs.

"We're demanding that the prosecutor arrest the officer who shot Jacob Blake," Crump said during a news conference. "And we also are asking that these officers who violated the policies in their training be terminated immediately."

Crump also said Blake is paralyzed from the waist down because the bullets that struck him severed his spinal cord and shattered some of his vertebrae, adding that it would "take a miracle" for him to walk again.

The DOJ has yet to announce any charges, but said on Monday that its Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) will aim to turn over its investigative reports to a prosecutor within 30 days.

"DCI is continuing to review evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to a prosecutor following a complete and thorough investigation," the DOJ said. "The prosecutor then reviews the report and makes a determination about what charges, if any, are appropriate."

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