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The Rest Of The Jacob Blake Story

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I saw this last night: the official criminal complaint against Jacob Blake — that is, the charges on which he was wanted when police were called out to deal with him in the incident in which he was shot . Details:

The three count criminal complaint filed on July 6, 2020 in Kenosha County, Wisconsin against Blake includes:

  1. Criminal trespass, domestic abuse a Class A misdemeanor, and if convicted faces a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than 9 months or both.
  2. Third Degree Sexual assault, Domestic Abuse a Class G Felony and if convicted faces a fine of not more than $25,000.00 or imprisoned not more than r 10 years, or both.
  3. Disorderly Conduct, Domestic Abuse, a Class B Misdemeanor and if convicted faces a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 90 days, or both.

According to the probable cause statement on May 3, 2020 a Kenosha police officer responded to the very same address where Blake was shot at on August 24, 2020 for a report that an ex-boyfriend had broken into the residence and stole vehicle keys, a vehicle debit card before fleeing.

The complainant is listed in the report only by initials met with officers, crying, visible shaken and dressed only in a nightgown.

The victim explained to police the previous evening she had left at approximately 8pm to attend a party in Milwaukee and had rented a vehicle for the weekend because she didn’t think her vehicle would make it up there and back because of mechanical issues.

The victim said she had her sister spend the night and watch her kids when she was gone.

She said she returned back home at about 4.11am, her sister was sleeping in the living room on the couch with numerous children. She said she took her son with her into the first bedroom down the hallway and went to sleep.

The report states at about 6am the victim was woken up by Jacob Blake.

Blake was standing over her saying, ‘I want my sh*t.’ As the victim laid on her back, Blake, ‘suddenly and without warning, reached his hand between her legs, penetrated her vaginally with a finger, pull it out and sniffed it, and said, ”Smells like you’ve been with other men.”

The officer noted in the report the victim had a very difficult time telling him this and cried as she told how the defendant (Blake) assaulted her and then the defendant immediately left the bedroom.

She told the police being penetrated digitally caused her pain and humiliation and was done without consent.

She also told the police after he left she realized her vehicle and debit card were missing.

After she had called 911, while waiting for officers the victim said she checked her account and found two fraudulent ATM withdrawals for $500 each.

She also told police that Blake was unemployed, has no vehicle and refused to tell her where he was currently living.

She said that over the past eight years the defendant has physically assaulted her twice a year ‘when he drinks heavily.’

This is the man who has become a saint in our media and pop culture, apotheosized by professional athletes and activists — this, on the basis of a decontextualized video. Nobody yet knows what led up to the Kenosha cop shooting Blake in the back seven times. Just to see the video, it obviously looks horrible. But by now we ought to have learned that you cannot understand what these videos mean without knowing what led up to them. This doesn’t mean the cop was right to do what he did; it only means that we need to have more information before we can judge the actions we see on the video.

The State of Wisconsin and the City of Kenosha have remained tight-lipped about the incident. But the Kenosha police union’s lawyer, Brendan Matthews, has given the cops’ side of the story. From the Kenosha News:

The DOJ [Wisconsin Department of Justice] stated that police were called to the 2800 block of 40th Street by a woman who said her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises. They also have stated that Blake admitted that he had a knife in his possession and that a knife was found on the floor of his vehicle.

According to the statement from Matthews, officers were told before they arrived that Blake had a felony warrant for his arrest for a domestic violence incident that included a charge of third-degree sexual assault. Officers who encounter people with active warrants are required to take them into custody.

Although people at the scene told media that Blake was breaking up a fight between two women, the statement from the association disputes that. It also disputes statements that Blake was unarmed.

“Mr. Blake was not unarmed. He was armed with a knife. The officers did not see the knife initially,” Matthews said in his statement. “The officers issued repeated commands for Mr. Blake to drop the knife. He did not comply.”

Matthews stated that officers went “hands-on” with Blake and two officers used tasers. “Mr. Blake forcefully fought with the officers,” including putting one of the officers in a headlock.

So: under the law, the cops had to arrest this accused violent felon and accused rapist. He resisted arrest, physically fighting the cops (this was captured on a second bystander video), while armed with a knife. Tasers didn’t work on him. Then he stormed around the front of his car, with cops yelling, “Drop the knife!”, and opened the door of his minivan. That’s when the cop reached out to try to pull him out, then shot him.

How was that officer to know that Blake wasn’t reaching into the van to retrieve a gun? A lawyer friend told me that in light of what we know, the Kenosha cops in this case almost certainly will not be charged criminally, because they performed by the book.

The left in this country seems to believe that criminal suspects should not be arrested unless they want to be.

Anyway, we should await the results of the official DOJ investigation before drawing firm conclusions. Do not uncritically accept the media narrative, though. The media, professional athletes, activists and fellow travelers are tearing this country up over a case in which a violent accused felon armed with a knife violently resisted arrest, and put an officer in the position of reasonably fearing for his life. This does not mean that shooting Blake seven times was justified. Nor have the allegations in the felony complaint been proved in court (I believe that the charges were dropped yesterday). But they do indicate the kind of man the police were dealing with that day. They give context. And they indicate that absent more information, we should be skeptical of the media and activist narrative.

Similarly, more information is coming about about the shootings of protesters by Kyle Rittenhouse. A reader sends this intense, detailed analysis of all the available videos from that night. 

I learned from that analysis that Joseph D. Rosenbaum, the first person shot by Rittenhouse, was an ex-con. Did you know that? I knew only that he was on the sex offender registry, but I did not know that he had done hard time in Arizona. I found this online document of his long disciplinary record as an Arizona inmate. 

Why does this matter? Rittenhouse could not have known any of that about Rosenbaum, and anyway, it would not justify shooting him. But it does establish that Rosenbaum was a violent, aggressive man, and it could help Rittenhouse’s defense by establishing that Rittenhouse had reason to fear him. There is video taken prior to the shooting in which a cocky Rosenbaum is taunting an unseen person or persons with a gun, daring him or them to shoot. 

The analysis above makes a strong case that Rittenhouse will be found not guilty by reasons of self-defense. Whether or not Rittenhouse should have been out on the streets of Kenosha that night is a different question. I think he clearly should not have been. But that is not a criminal offense.

A reader sympathetic to Kyle Rittenhouse writes:

Rittenhouse is also being represented by Lin Wood who recently kicked ass and took names with Sandmann.
When a high profile attorney takes on such a case, it usually means one of couple things 1) defendant is wealthy, 2) attorney thinks it is very winnable. Occasionally one will take on a losing case to make a statement, but in my view this case is very winnable.
Major takeaways:
1) Kyle worked in Kenosha as a community lifeguard. He came to Kenosha on August 25th in order to work and he indeed worked a shift at the community pool. He initially stayed in Kenosha after work to help clean graffiti from the high school with some friends.
2) Kyle transported no weapons across state lines. The weapon was given to him in Kenosha by a friend and Wisconsin resident.
3) Kyle and his friend appeared on the scene armed that night at the behest of a mechanic shop which had put out a general call for help earlier in the day.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that attorneys lie, but these seem like statements that they would not put out unless they could bring forth evidence and witnesses to support them.
The whole media narrative of “omg he crossed state lines with a gun!” and gleefully reporting “he lived 30 miles away”–sometimes even adding in the distance by kilometers–looooooooooool is falling apart. Sorry, I just can’t get over the left emphasizing the state lines when 1) they don’t believe in borders and 2) their beloved rioters travel much longer distances to participate in mayhem.
Kyle did not strap on some gear and sojourn 30 mile across state lines in order to be at the riots. He strapped on no gear and drove to work. He was a servant of the Kenosha community who belonged in Kenosha that very day to work. He was at that mechanic shop standing sentry because the owner put out a general call for people to come guard his shop. While he may not have been invited individually, the owner invited good citizens to defend him. Kyle answered the call.
Now what does that say about Kenosha, Wisconsin, and America in general that 1) the police could not control the riots such that a business owner had to put out a plea to the general public to send people to protect him and 2) only teenagers were available to answer the call?  We have a deficit of strong men of a strong character. The older men of the town were apparently much better represented among the rioters, or they were cowering at home. If a bunch of guys my age had stood guard at that shop, there would have been no need for the teens and we would have told them to go home. This makes me feel a twinge of shame and makes me more likely to answer call for help like this in my state so that it does not fall to teenagers.

Here, from the Scribd document, is Rittenhouse’s attorney’s description of the Rosenbaum shooting:

As Kyle proceeded towards the second mechanic’s shop, he was accosted by multiple rioters who recognized that he had been attempting to protect a business the mob wanted to destroy. This outraged the rioters and created a mob now determined to hurt Kyle. They began chasing him down. Kyle attempted to get away, but he could not do so quickly enough. Upon the sound of a gunshot behind him,Kyle turned and was immediately faced with an attacker lunging towards him and reaching for his rifle. He reacted instantaneously and justifiably with his weapon to protect himself, firing and striking the attacker.

The attacker in this case was Rosenbaum. To me, this shooting is the only one about which there is question of its justification (the others, in my view, are clearly self-defense). If the Rittenhouse lawyer’s version is accurate, then Rittenhouse was defending himself. We will see in court, I suppose.

All three of the men shot by Rittenhouse were bad guys who were only out on the streets of Kenosha that night to cause trouble. They are violent men who died violently, or, in Grosskreutz’s case, will live maimed as the result of his violence. Kyle Rittenhouse seems like a good kid who got in way over his head, but who is not the villain here.

The Kyle Rittenhouses of America are not America’s problem; the Joseph Rosenbaums, Anthony Hubers, and Gaige Grosskreutzes are. So are the Jacob Blakes.

I believe that most Americans understand that. Or they will, despite what the media say.

UPDATE: A reader writes:

Initially, I shared your view that this definitely looked like self-defense, but I had an interaction on Twitter that made me think otherwise. (Shocking? No, really! Twitter can be used by reasonable, open-minded people to inform themselves! Believe it or not!)

I’ll post my exchange below. But the argument that made me question my conclusion was that Kyle went into a “conflict zone.” His presence was illegal because a curfew was in effect. In bringing a loaded weapon into that conflict zone in violation of the law, violence was a reasonably foreseeable outcome.

Imagine doing something illegal and trying to defend yourself. You just watched Breaking Bad. Imagine a drug deal gone bad and someone ends up dead, and one of the parties later accused of homicide invokes self-defense. Is that a valid legal defense in those circumstances? Double-check with your legal connections on this because I’m NOT an attorney, but I don’t think it is. It doesn’t matter that he was guarding a car dealership. It doesn’t matter that he was trying to assist cops. Legally, he did not have any authority to be there, and if he couldn’t be there legally, then the self-defense defense falls apart.

I won’t post the exchange because I don’t want to identify the reader. But is this a valid legal point? Lawyers, what do you think?

UPDATE.2: And, here we go. Armed citizens of Kenosha doing for their community what the authorities are unwilling to do, or (more likely) are unable to do. Excerpts:

About a 10-minute drive from Downtown Kenosha, two men stood this week with AR-15 firearms protecting their subdivision.

The armed men were Jason and Gilbert, part of a group of about 10 residents of the subdivision that have been out nights since Tuesday protecting their neighborhood in light of the unrest in Kenosha.

Despite the we-mean-business message the group conveys to passing motorists, The men were anything but threatening Thursday night. They were sincere in their concern for their neighbors and city.

“All we’re doing is making sure the community here is able to go asleep, sleep fine and are not worried about anything,” Gilbert said.

More:

Jason said a van with young females drove by the guards Thursday and yelled “Black Lives Matter.” And he said there was nothing wrong with that and that the group supports peaceful protest.

While on guard, the watch group keeps an ear on the police scanner and members keep in communication with each other via walkie talkies.

“Our approach is when we see a car coming through we flash the ground (with a flashlight) just to let them know there is a presence here,” Gilbert said.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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