Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old African-American man who was shot seven times in the back by a Kenosha police officer on August 23, has had a sex assault charge against him dropped by the state of Wisconsin after he reached a plea bargain.
According to The Kenosha News, prosecutors said they were left with no resort but to drop the charge on Friday after the woman who accused him became uncooperative with investigators. Blake, who appeared at the Kenosha County Circuit Court via Zoom, instead pleaded guilty to two counts of disorderly conduct and was sentenced to two years of probation. The aforementioned charges were in relation to a verbal altercation he had with the female witness.
“Honestly, your honor, although I pled guilty to this, I don’t consider myself to be guilty,” Blake told the judge during the hearing. “I pretty much took this opportunity to get to see my children quicker.”
The August 23 incident occurred when the mother of Blake’s children called officers to report an altercation with him at her residence, claiming that he was “not supposed to be on the premises.” In the aftermath of the shooting, family attorney, Benjamin Crump, however, said Blake was trying to deescalate a domestic incident before the police arrived.
The woman had previously reported Blake to authorities for allegedly taking her debit card and car and also sexually assaulting her. A warrant for his arrest in relation to that May incident was subsequently issued.
The special prosecutor handling the case, Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld, told the court on Friday the sex assault case, which was set to go on trial next week, had to be dropped after the woman who accused Blake seized cooperating with the prosecution, The Kenosha News reported. The prosecution, therefore, reached a plea agreement with Blake’s attorney.
“This was an agreement reached partly because the victim in this matter was not responsive to the subpoena to appear in court,” Wiedenfeld told the court.
Authorities are, however, still investigating the August 23 shooting, with Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley expected to announce whether or not charges would be brought against the officer who shot Blake in the coming weeks, according to The Kenosha News.
Blake’s shooting, which has left him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, ignited days of curfew-defying protests, with incidents of violence, looting and destruction of property reported.
Two protesters were also fatally shot by a 17-year-old vigilante, Kyle Rittenhouse, during an altercation. All the officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident.