Condemn decision not to bring charges over Jacob Blake shooting

5 January, 2021 – Wishaw, WI – Kenosha District Attorney Michael Graveley announced that Kenosha Police Department Officer Rusten Sheskey will not be charged for shooting Jacob Blake in the back seven times, which paralyzed him from the waist down.

As WSAW-TV reports:  “Officer Rusten Sheskey’s shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 23, captured on bystander video, turned the nation’s spotlight on Wisconsin during a summer marked by protests over police brutality and racism. More than 250 people were arrested in the days that followed, including 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, a self-styled medic with an assault rifle who is charged in the fatal shootings of two men and the wounding of a third.”

Sheskey shot him seven times – in the back – at point-blank range.  State investigators had said only that officers saw a knife on the floor of the SUV and hadn’t said whether Blake threatened anyone with it.  The police union seems to claim he had a knife in his hand; the police did not use bodycams.

It is unclear whether Mr Blake and his legal representative had any input into the investigation process at all, whereas the police union’s opinion carried weight with the DA.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump tweeted:  “Nowhere does the video footage show a knife extended and aimed to establish the requisite intent. Also, to establish that the officer reasonably believed he was in danger… if he felt in danger, why did he chase Jacob Blake?”

Earlier Mr Crump told a press conference:  “We feel this decision failed not only Jacob and his family, but the community that protested and demanded justice… Officer Sheskey’s actions sparked outrage and advocacy throughout the country, but the district attorney’s decision not to charge the officer who shot Jacob in the back multiple times, leaving him paralyzed, further destroys trust in our justice system. This sends the wrong message to police officers throughout the country. It says it is OK for police to abuse their power and recklessly shoot their weapon, destroying the life of someone who was trying to protect his children.”

 Chris Ott, Executive Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin said:ACLU said of the decision:

“We are disappointed that, instead of holding police accountable for another example of their repeated use of excessive force against people of color, District Attorney Graveley declined to charge Officer Rusten Sheskey in the shooting of Jacob Blake. This continues the cycle of enabling police violence and evading accountability when they seriously injure and harm a Black person. Based on the video footage of the incident, it remains hard to see any reason to shoot Mr. Blake in the back repeatedly. But, as we’ve seen so many times before, the police in this case were held to a different standard of responsibility than the rest of us… This officer will continue with his career with the mistaken belief that he has done no wrong, while Jacob Blake will remain paralyzed and left to deal with the consequences of this officer’s actions. Today, justice was not served.”

ACTION:

Please contact Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers through one of the channels below and give them the following message, personalized to your liking:

As a member of gun law reform group One Pulse for America, I am disgusted but sadly not surprised that a very flawed investigation allowed a very flawed police officer to get away with shooting Jacob  Blake in the back seven times, paralyzing him.

As Attorney Ben Crump points out:  “Nowhere does the video footage show a knife extended and aimed to establish the requisite intent. Also, to establish that the officer reasonably believed he was in danger… if he felt in danger, why did he chase Jacob Blake?”

If you continue to allow an officer who already had five complaints against him to continue in his role, you are responsible for all his further actions.  If you continue to allow Wisconsin’s officers to operate without using body cam each and every time they encounter a suspect, you are failing to protect your citizens.  You should be ashamed at this outcome.  I want to hear from you with details of what you are personally doing to ensure this does not happen again – and to ensure Mr Blake will be given the support he and his family need after police failures and inadequacies paralyzed him.

-OR- send this tweet:

If you are serious, I want to hear you are ensuring WI police are trained, equipped with bodycams that are used every single time they engage. Any officer with 5 complaints/issues must be dismissed. Jacob Blake was shot 7 times: nothing excuses this and the DA’s poor decision.

Sign letter on Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Finding

Louisville – a grand jury that met in secret decided to hold  NO ONE accountable for the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

We agree with her family and their lawyer who called this a sham.

We will publish the letter below, and send copies to relevant law enforcement agencies, to Ms Taylor’s family’s attorney, to local media, to relevant elected officials.

Please also share it on social media.

To have your name added as a signatory, please add your name, town and state in the comments on the One Pulse post.

We the undersigned members of One Pulse for America are appalled and angry that a Kentucky Grand Jury ruled no one is guilty for the death of Breonna Taylor, shot multiple times in her own home during a late-night raid which should never have been authorized in the first place.

One Pulse for America is an 81,000-strong gun law reform group formed by actor and activist George Takei following the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.

We agree with Ms Taylor’s family that these were ‘sham proceedings’.

We agree with lawyer Ben Crump who said “nothing seems to say Breonna mattered,” adding that the Kentucky grand jury carried-out a “sham proceeding that did nothing to give Breonna Taylor a voice.”

We understand FBI findings as to her death were disregarded.  We welcome the FBI’s findings and will be watching closely.

We demand that the officers and those who planned this raid be charged appropriately; this has not happened.

We demand that recruitment and training be immediately upgraded.

We demand law enforcement agencies actively seek out and expel anyone who espouses racist, bigoted views:  they cannot ‘protect and serve’.

We demand an immediate end to ‘no knock’ and ‘dawn’ raids as they cannot be conducted without innocent people being hurt or killed as we have seen before now.

Finally, we express our sincere sympathy to all of Breonna’s family, friends, colleagues – and to all those who are suffering because of her death.

We reaffirm our call to reform America’s gun laws.