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Kenosha officer will not be charged in Jacob Blake's shooting, DA says

Posted at 4:18 PM, Jan 05, 2021

KENOSHA — A Kenosha police officer will not be charged in the August shooting of Jacob Blake, the Kenosha County District Attorney announced Tuesday.

The District Attorney made the announcement at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. D.A. Michael Graveley said his office would not recommend charges against Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey.

Sheskey shot Blake multiple times in the back on Aug. 23. Officers had responded to the scene near 40th and 28th Street on a "domestic incident" call.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice, which is the investigating agency, said Sheskey and several other Kenosha officers were attempting to arrest Blake at the time. Blake walked away from officers and was attempting to get into an SUV at the scene when he was shot.

According to officials, Blake admitted there was a weapon in the vehicle, but it was unclear if he was reaching for it or not during the incident. Prior to the shooting, Blake was tased twice by Sheskey and another officer.

An investigation launched by the DOJ's Division of Criminal Investigation following the shooting has since found that Blake admitted to having a knife in his possession during the incident. DCI agents later found a knife in the driver’s side floorboard of Blake's vehicle. No other weapons were found.

Sheskey, Officer Vincent Arenas, and Officer Brittany Meronek were placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

Gov. Tony Evers on Monday mobilized 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard to Kenosha.

In a statement, the governor said that local authorities requested the deployment. The city's Common Council also authorized an emergency declaration, which allows Mayor John Antaramian emergency authority, set to kick in once a charging decision is made.

The Aug. 23 shooting sparked nationwide protests, some turning violent.

Graveley said none of the officers involved in the shooting will face charges. He also added that Blake wouldn't be charged.

“We are immensely disappointed in Kenosha District Attorney Michael Graveley’s decision not to charge the officers involved in this horrific shooting," said Blake's attorneys in a statement. "We feel this decision failed not only Jacob and his family, but the community that protested and demanded justice."

Attorneys Ben Crump, Patrick A. Salvi and B'Ivory LaMarr said Graveley's decision "further destroys trust in our justice system."

“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," said the attorneys. "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."

The Milwaukee Bucks released a statement after it was announced that charges would not be brought against the police officer who shot and seriously wounded Blake in August:

"The Bucks organization remains firmly against excessive use of force by law enforcement. This past year shed light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African Americans and other marginalized communities. Reoccurring instances of excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging the Black community must stop. We will continue to work to enact policy change so these incidents no longer exist. As an organization, we remain strongly committed to address issues of social injustice and anti-racism and to make meaningful change for African Americans and all marginalized members of our community.”

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