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Washington Post Forced To Correct Article, Tweet Describing Jacob Blake As ‘Unarmed’ Despite Evidence Showing He Had Knife

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Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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The Washington Post issued a correction to a tweet, an article, and a breaking news alert that all described Jacob Blake as unarmed hours after Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley asserted Blake had a knife when he was shot by police in August. 

The original tweet claiming Blake was unarmed was first posted at 4:28 p.m. EST, and the Post issued a correction on Twitter at 7:20 p.m. EST. The announcement by Graveley, in which he said there would be no charges for the officer involved, was made during a press conference that began at 4 p.m.

The false claims that Blake was unarmed quickly circulated across Twitter, racking up thousands of retweets. Buzzfeed, CNN’s Keith Boykin, NBC News’ Priscilla Thompson and a number of local news outlets all amplified the claim. (RELATED: Police Refute Hawley’s Claim That Protesters Threatened His Family, Claim Demonstration Was ‘Peaceful’)

MSNBC posted a tweet about an op-ed from contributor Brittany Packnett Cunningham which characterized Blake as “unarmed” that is still up at publication time.

The Atlantic contributor Ibram Kendi tweeted, “Yet another prosecutor tells yet another White police officer it is not a crime to shoot an unarmed Black American.”

Activist group ColorOfChange, NAACP President Derrick Johnson and incoming Congressman Jamaal Bowman all amplified the falsehood as well.

“We’ve deleted a previous tweet that incorrectly described Jacob Blake as unarmed. While his family has said he was not armed when shot by police, prosecutors on Tuesday said video evidence depicts him holding a knife. The story has been corrected,” said a follow-up tweet correcting the original.

The Post also issued a correction on the article attached to the tweet.

“An earlier version of this story incorrectly described Jacob Blake as unarmed. While his family has said he was not armed when shot by police, prosecutors on Tuesday said video evidence depicts him holding a knife. The story has been corrected,” the correction said.

A correction was made to the breaking news alert that initially accompanied the story as well. “Correction: Police officers won’t be charged in shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot 7 times in the back in Kenosha, Wis. An earlier alert incorrectly described Blake as unarmed,” it said.

It had already been reported that Blake had a knife in his possession at the time of the incident prior to Tuesday. During his press conference, Graveley said it was “incontrovertible” that Blake had a knife when he was shot seven times in the back by police, leaving him alive but paralyzed from the waist down.

Blake had an active warrant at the time of the shooting for three counts of domestic abuse, one count of third degree sexual assault, one count of trespassing and one count of disorderly conduct. Police had been called to the scene for a domestic disturbance.

The shooting incited riots in the streets of Kenosha for weeks during the summer, including the fatal shooting of two individuals by Kyle Rittenhouse. Authorities prepared for the aftermath of Tuesday’s press conference by calling in the Wisconsin National Guard