Jacob Blake appears via video from his hospital bed for first court appearance
Wearing a blue dress shirt and a yellow tie, Jacob Blake, paralyzed after being shot in the back by a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer, made a first court appearance — and his first public appearance since being wounded — Friday from his hospital bed.
Blake is accused of one felony — third-degree sexual assault — and misdemeanor criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.
He spoke briefly to the judge when asked if he understood the charges against him. When asked if he had any questions Blake responded, “At the moment, no, I don’t.”
His attorney, Patrick Cafferty, submitted not guilty pleas for all three charges.
According to the criminal complaint obtained by CNN, Blake unlawfully entered a home on May 3 and sexually assaulted a woman in her bedroom before leaving with her vehicle. The woman told police Blake had physically assaulted her several times over the past eight years, the complaint said, which was filed in July. She also waived a temporary restraining order against Blake.
CNN does not typically identify sexual assault victims.
The charges were prior to and unrelated to the August 23 shooting incident that left him seriously wounded and hospitalized.
Blake was left paralyzed by the shooting. He was initially in the intensive care unit, but his condition has improved, his family said.
The judge approved a $10,000 signature bond for Blake, in addition to the $500 cash already in place as bail. The bail agreement was signed, and Blake is allowed to leave the state only for medical treatment.
He waived his right to a preliminary hearing and is scheduled for another court appearance on October 21. The judge said the case can proceed to trial, which would begin in November.
If convicted of third-degree sexual assault, Blake could face up to 10 years in prison and/or as a much as a $25,000 fine.
Blake, 29, was shot seven times August 23. A video clip of the incident shows an officer shooting Blake as he tries to enter the driver’s side door of an SUV. His three children — 3, 5 and 8 — were in the car at the time.
Protests over police brutality and systemic racism erupted after a video of the shooting began circulating on social media and have continued for almost two weeks. Blake is Black and the officer who shot him is White.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, which is leading the shooting investigation, has said that Blake admitted he had a knife in his possession and law enforcement agents recovered one from the driver’s side floorboard of his vehicle.
Blake’s family has said he was no threat to officers. An attorney for the family, Patrick Salvi Jr., said this week: “At no point in time was Jacob’s momentum towards the officers. And what you see is that the officer is pulling on his shirt and then fires those seven bullets into Jacob’s back. If he was concerned that Jacob had a knife, why wouldn’t he back away?”
Two officers have since been placed on administrative leave.