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.”
-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.