By MARLENE LENTHANG, ABC News
(MILWAUKEE) — Jacob Blake, the Black man who was shot at seven times by a white police officer in Wisconsin and left partially paralyzed, has filed a lawsuit against the cop.
The federal civil rights lawsuit was filed against Kenosha Police officer Rusten Sheskey in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin Thursday.
The suit accuses Sheskey of using “excessive and unnecessary” force when he fired seven times at Blake, who was struck by six of the bullets.
The suit, filed by attorneys Ben Crump, Patrick A. Salvi II and B’Ivory LaMarr, seeks unspecified compensation for his injuries, punitive damages and legal fees.
“We believe that this lawsuit will help establish accountability,” LaMarr told ABC News. “We believe that the year 2020 was the year to bring further awareness for social justice as it relates to African Americans being victims of police brutality. We believe that what we’ve seen so far in 2021, with the settlement for George Floyd, this is a year of accountability.”
On Aug. 23, officers responding to what was described as a “domestic incident” tried to arrest Blake, now 29, and deployed a Taser in an unsuccessful attempt to detain him, the complaint said.
The complaint stated Blake never tried to “verbally threaten the officers” or made “any abrupt physical gestures.”
Blake had a folding knife “though he never brandished or threatened to use the knife at any time,” the attorneys said in a statement.
The complaint states that Blake dropped the folding knife onto the floor of the SUV as he sat down in the driver’s seat of the car, then Sheskey fired “seven shots at point blank range.” Blake’s two young children, ages 5 and 8, watched from the back seat.
The incident was captured on a witness’ cellphone video.
One of the bullets was fired into the side of the SUV at an angle near where the children sat in the rear seats, and if a second layer of steel hadn’t absorbed the bullet, it would have “continued in its path … into the rear passenger compartment where the children sat,” according to the complaint.
No charges have been filed in connection with the shooting.
ABC News has reached out to Sheskey’s attorney for comment regarding the lawsuit. In January, the attorney, Brendan Matthews, said Sheskey “was presented with a difficult and dangerous situation and he acted appropriately and in accordance with his training,” per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Blake remains paralyzed from the waist down and “minute by minute he’s in immense pain,” LaMarr said. “Jacob may not be able to walk physically, but he takes his first steps by filing this civil lawsuit.”
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