Officer Rusten Sheskey will not be charged for shooting Kenosha, WI, resident Jacob Blake seven times in the back last summer, paralyzing him from the waist down.
Blake, who was arguing with officers after they were called to a domestic incident, was walking to his car when Sheskey pulled out his gun and shot him. The incident was recorded by a neighbor and led to several Black Lives Matter protests in the city.
Kenosha District Attorney Michael Graveley said the other two officers involved in the incident will not be charged. Neither will Blake.
“It is my decision now that no Kenosha law enforcement officer will be charged with any criminal offense based on the facts and laws,” Graveley said during the press conference Tuesday.
The decision is expected to lead to protests and demonstrations from Black Lives Matter supporters and counter-protesters. During one of the protests after Blake’s shooting, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse
, who claimed to be defending a business, shot three people with an assault rifle, killing two. Rittenhouse pleaded not guilty to first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, and attempted first-degree intentional reckless homicide. The owner of the gun
Rittenhouse used was also charged.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced Monday 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.
Blake’s family attorney, Ben Crump, who has also represented the families of George Floyd
and Breonna Taylor
, released a statement on Tuesday’s news.
“We feel this decision failed not only Jacob and his family, but the community that protested and demanded justice,” the statement said
. “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.”
Blake’s uncle, Justin, told CNN
his nephew has become “our new hero” for his approach to the shooting and his rehabilitation.
“The way he is taking this mental approach, the way he puts all his effort into his therapy, and the passion, if anybody could walk again one day, it would be my nephew,” Justin Blake said.