Jacob Blake, the Wisconsin man shot in the back seven times by a Kenosha, Wisconsin police officer on Sunday, is no longer handcuffed to his hospital bed, his family's attorney, Patrick Cafferty, said Friday. An underlying arrest warrant for Blake was vacated as well, Caffery told CBS News. Blake is no longer in police custody after posting bond for the warrant, the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office confirmed.
"We have learned today that the warrants for Jacob Blake were vacated, although the charges against him are still pending," civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is also representing Blake's family, wrote in a statement. "Fortunately, a man who is paralyzed and fighting for his life after being shot seven times in the back will no longer have to deal with the pain of having his ankles and wrist shackled and the traumatic stress of being under armed guard."
Statement Regarding Custody Status of Mr. Jacob Blake
From Sunday, August 23 to Friday, August 28, while receiving treatment at a local hospital, Mr. Jacob Blake remained in custody on a Kenosha County felony arrest warrant issued in July.— Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office (@MCSOSheriff) August 28, 2020
Police told CBS News they were following standard procedure for anyone with an outstanding warrant for felony charges by restraining Blake, even though he was hospitalized and doctors said he is paralyzed from the waist down. Blake faced charges of felony third-degree sexual assault, misdemeanor criminal trespassing and misdemeanor disorderly conduct stemming from a July 6 criminal complaint. He was accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his three children. "Our policy indicates that all people in custody outside of our jail facility shall be secured with restraints," Lt. Eric Klinkhammer said.
Blake was shot on Sunday when police responded to a domestic dispute. Authorities have not said what Blake's relation to the original incident was, but his family and Crump have said Blake was trying to break up the dispute. It is also not known if Kenosha Officer Rusten Sheskey was aware of Blake's history when he fired at Blake while he tried to get back into his car. Family attorney Patrick Salvi Jr. told CNN Blake was not an "imminent threat" to officers.
On Friday, the Kenosha Professional Police Association issued a statement disputing the family's version of events. The union said Blake was "armed with a knife." State investigators said law enforcement agents found a knife in the vehicle's floorboard. Investigators and the union also said two officers tried to incapacitate Blake with Tasers before shooting. Sheskey has not been charged in the shooting but is being investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
The shooting of Blake has sparked more nationwide protests, with some sports leagues even refusing to play. On Tuesday night, two protesters were killed and another wounded. Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Illinois, was charged in the shootings. He is now in custody in Illinois after the judge handling the case postponed the next extradition status hearing until Sept. 25.