US NEWS

Does Jacob Blake have any gun convictions?

In the aftermath of the 29-year-old African-American being repeatedly shot at close range by a Kenosha police officer, some want to dig into the victim's past.

¿Tenía Jacob Blake alguna condena por usar armas de fuego?
SCOTT OLSON AFP

Once again, the world is reeling following further police violence in the United States, and this has resulted in a series of protests demanding that the government takes action. This time, the focus was on Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old African-American man, who was repeatedly shot at close range by a Kenosha police officer. Despite the outrage, there are still many questions being asked, with some observers keen to understand the victim’s background.

In just a few months this year, we have heard the tragic stories of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Eric Garner and now Jacob Blake, all victims of police violence against African Americans. Mobile recording devices in the hands of almost everyone has meant that these actions are now being seen more often, and social media is allowing it to be shared more easily than ever.

Some have strongly defended the actions of the police in this latest case. They argue that Jacob Blake was a criminal and that he had a weapon, putting the officers’ lives at risk and meaning he action was simply self-defence. Those taking that stance are also looking to Blake’s past.

Did Blake have a firearm conviction?

To date, no one other than the officer himself really knows the reason why he chose to shoot Jacob Blake seven times as he reached into his parked vehicle containing three of his young children. Blake did, however, have a criminal record before the incident.

As part of a fact check into the situation, USA Today shard the following:

‘Blake was charged July 6 with felony third-degree sexual assault and misdemeanor trespassing and disorderly conduct. All three offenses carried a penalty enhancer because they were connected to domestic abuse.

The charges — which have not gone to trial — stem from a May 3 incident in Kenosha County. A woman Blake knew told police he came into her house about 6 a.m., sexually assaulted her and then took a debit card and car keys before fleeing in her vehicle, according to a criminal complaint. Contrary to many social media claims, the woman involved in this case was an adult.

A warrant for Blake’s arrest was filed the day after the criminal complaint, online court records show.

Anti-racism protesters marched on the streets of the US capital on Friday, after the shooting of Jacob Blake. The protest also marked the 57th anniversary of civil rights leader Martin Luther King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech delivered at the Lincoln Memorial.

Police radio traffic explains officers were dispatched for "family trouble," and a dispatcher named Blake as taking the caller’s keys and refusing to give them back. A dispatcher used the police code 10-99 while sending officers, alerting them to Blake's warrant.’

The news outlet does, however, clarify that Blake has never been convicted for gun use, although he was charged with a a gun-related offence. You can read their full check here.