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Lawsuit filed against Kenosha Police Officer who shot and paralyzed Jacob Blake

KENOSHA, Wis. – Nationally renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump, attorney Patrick A. Salvi II of Salvi, Schostok and Pritchard P.C., and attorney B’Ivory LaMarr have filed a lawsuit on behalf of Jacob Blake against Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey for the August 2020 shooting that left Mr. Blake paralyzed.

On March 25, 2021, a federal civil rights lawsuit was filed against Sheskey in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The complaint sets forth the events of August 23, 2020, as they unfolded, beginning with police officers forcibly taking Mr. Blake to the ground and ending with one officer firing seven shots at point-blank range at the back of Jacob Blake.

As noted in the complaint, Mr. Blake made no physical or verbal threats toward any officer and repeatedly attempted to disengage by walking away from a violent attack from aggressive police officers. As evidenced in the video and set forth in the complaint, Mr. Blake had a folding knife on his person as he was being attacked, though he never brandished or threatened to use the knife at any time. After Mr. Blake dropped the folding knife onto the floor of the SUV and as he sat down in the driver’s seat, Officer Sheskey began firing his gun with one hand, as he pulled Jacob by the shirt with the other.

At the time Sheskey began firing, several women and a toddler were on the opposite side of the vehicle and in imminent danger of being hit by stray gunfire. Of the seven shots fired, six bullets ripped into the body of Jacob Blake, one or more of which severing his spinal cord. One of the bullets was fired into the side door of the SUV, and but for the fact that the impact occurred at a juncture with layers of reinforced steel, the bullet would have travelled into the rear passenger compartment where Jacob’s two children, ages five and eight, looked on in horror.

“Miraculously, no bystanders were hit by gunfire. Although Jacob’s children escaped physical injury and avoided being hit by the stray bullet that fired into the SUV, they were forced to witness their father being gunned down only feet away from where they sat,” Attorney B’Ivory LaMarr said.

“While Jacob Blake survived being shot six times, his devastating injuries are permanent and life-changing. The bullet that severed Jacob’s spinal cord has left him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Jacob now suffers from an intractable pain syndrome. After various surgical procedures and an agonizing course of physical rehabilitation, Jacob remains unable to return to his job as a security guard and relies on others to assist him with the basic needs of daily living,” Attorney Patrick A. Salvi II said.

This complaint, which contains still images showing the position of Mr. Blake and Officer Sheskey at the moment each of the seven shots was fired, refutes any notion that the shooting was justified to protect any officer or third person. By viewing this event as it occurred through the photographic and video evidence taken by eyewitnesses, it is clear that the hail of gunfire fired into the back of Mr. Blake in the presence of his children was excessive and unnecessary for which there must be accountability in a court of law.

“Nothing can undo this tragedy or take away the suffering endured by Jacob, his children, and the rest of the Blake family. But hopefully today is a significant step in achieving justice for them and holding Officer Sheskey answerable for his nearly deadly actions – actions that have deprived Jacob of his ability to walk. The path to ending police brutality is a long and grinding one, but the fight for systemic change in policing and transparency – and for justice –  can only happen with accountability. And that is what we hope to achieve with this filing,” said attorney Ben Crump.

In addition to the above-named counsel, Salvi, Schostok and Pritchard P.C. attorneys Tara Devine, Lance Northcutt, Brian Salvi, Jaclyn Wilcox and Jennifer Cascio will serve as co-counsel on the case.

Mr. Blake’s legal team is available for comment and interviews upon request. All media inquiries should be directed to press@bencrump.com.

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About Ben Crump Law: 

Nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump has spearheaded a legal movement to better protect the rights of marginalized citizens. He has led landscape-changing civil rights cases and represented clients in a wide range of areas including civil rights, personal injury, labor and employment, class actions, and more. Ben Crump Law is dedicated to holding the powerful accountable. For more, visit BenCrump.com.

About Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C.     

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. was established by attorney Patrick Salvi in 1982. With offices in Chicago and Waukegan, the firm represents clients in a variety of medical malpractice, personal injury and wrongful death cases. Salvi Law has recovered more than $1.5 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured clients, including more than 260 cases resulting in awards of $1 million or more. The firm has been routinely listed as one of the top law firms in the state with the highest reported settlement totals in the Jury Verdict Reporter’s Settlement Survey. To contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., visit www.salvilaw.com.

About The LaMarr Firm:

Founded by B’Ivory LaMarr, The LaMarr Firm handles personal injury cases and is passionate about pursing justice on behalf of injury victims and their families. In addition, the firm represents clients in criminal defense, civil rights, property damage claims, and sports and entertainment matters. Attorney LaMarr has been retained on several high-profile, national and international cases, where he been featured and regularly quoted on CNN, HLN, Yahoo, NBC Nightly News, FOX, Telemundo, and multiple other mainstream networks. He is successful real estate investor, and has handled over 1,000 insurance claims across the country as a public adjuster resulting in millions of dollars in claims and settlements.

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