A decision on whether to charge the officer who shot Jacob Blake is expected within two weeks, and Kenosha, WI, is already preparing for unrest no matter the decision.
Blake, a Black Kenosha resident, was shot in the back seven times by officer Rusten Sheskey, who was responding to a domestic incident call on August 23, 2020. Blake survived the shooting but is paralyzed from the waist down. The incident was recorded on camera by a neighbor.
CNN reported a Kenosha Common Council agenda document shows Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely will deliver the charging decision within the first two weeks of January. The document also includes a proposal for an emergency declaration ahead of the possibility of civil unrest.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced he will mobilize 500 national guard troops to Kenosha ahead of the charging decision. Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian and Police Chief Daniel Miskinis are also working with city officials and departments to allow for a peaceful demonstration. Plans include closing roads, limiting bus routes, and designating a protest area.
The shooting led to mass Black Lives Matter protests and counter-protests. During the protests, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who claimed to be defending a business, shot three people with an assault rifle, killing two. The owner of the gun Rittenhouse used was also charged.
“We are continuing to work with our local partners in the Kenosha area to ensure they have the state support they need, just as we have in the past,” Gov. Evers said in a statement. “Our members of the National Guard will be on hand to support local first responders, ensure Kenoshans are able to assemble safely, and to protect critical infrastructure as necessary.”
Blake did an interview from his hospital bed in September, telling younger Black children to treasure their lives, because it could end fast.
“I just want to say, man, to all the young cats out there, and even the older ones older than me, it’s a lot more life to live out here, man. Your life and not only just your life, your legs, something that you need to move around and move forward in life, can be taken from you like this, man,” Blake said, according to ABC News.