One of the Kenosha Police Department officers present when Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back used to work for the Capitol Police. The incident, in which Blake, who is Black, was shot by a white officer, led to a wave of racial justice protests in the Wisconsin city and quickly became a focal point of debates about police violence.
On Aug. 23, officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin were dispatched to a residence after a female caller said her boyfriend was there and wasn’t supposed to be. The month prior, a warrant was issued for Blake’s arrest on charges of third-degree sexual assault, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, according to the New York Times.
The officers tried to arrest Blake, and after that initial attempt, Officer Rusten Sheskey used a taser on Blake. When that failed, Officer Vincent Arenas also deployed his taser on Blake, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
Blake walked around his car and opened the driver’s side door and leaned forward. At that point, Sheskey, who was grabbing Blake’s shirt, shot Blake seven times in the back. Sheskey was the only officer who used his gun.
Blake was left partially paralyzed by the shooting.
A knife was found on the driver’s side floorboard of Blake’s car, the Wisconsin Department of Justice said in a press release on Sept. 1.
Arenas, along with the two other officers involved, was placed on administrative leave.
Arenas has been working for the Kenosha Police Department since February 2019. Before that he was an officer with the Capitol Police.
Rebecca Ballweg, a spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Justice, when asked about Arenas’ disciplinary history, said they don’t have such records and the Capitol Police could supply that information.
“Likely US Capitol Police will have the answer/get this to you,” Ballweg said in an email. “The Training & Standards Bureau at DOJ does not receive records of disciplinary incidents from other law enforcement agencies.”
On Aug. 28, the Capitol Police issued a statement on Arenas’ tenure with the department: “Officer Vincent Arenas of the Kenosha, Wisconsin, Police Department was employed by the United States Capitol Police from June 2017 – January 2019. He voluntarily resigned his position in good standing as a private with training.”
The statement does not address whether Arenas had any instances of misconduct during his time with the Capitol Police. When asked if Arenas had any disciplinary history while employed by the Capitol Police, Eva Malecki, a spokesperson for the department, did not answer the question and referred to the previously issued statement.
The Capitol Police department is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act and does not publicly disclose officer misconduct.
Wisconsin Sens. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, and Ron Johnson, a Republican, did not respond to a request for comment on whether the Capitol Police should release any of Arenas’ potential disciplinary record while at the department.
Republican Rep. Bryan Steil, whose district includes Kenosha, did not comment.