Two of the three police officers who were present during the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin have returned to work after being placed on administrative leave.
The Kenosha Police Department said in a statement released Wednesday, January 27 that officer Rusten Sheskey, who shot Jacob Blake seven times, leaving the 29-year-old paralyzed from the waist down, will remain on administrative leave pending an investigation. Officers Vincent Arenas and Brittany Meronek, however, returned to the line of duty on January 20. “Officers Arenas and Meronek were not charged with a crime and after review by the Kenosha County District Attorney and an independent investigator, former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray, the actions taken by the officers were reasonable and justified,” the statement read.
On August 23, 2020, officers attempted to arrest Blake for an outstanding warrant. That’s when police say a pocket knife fell from his pants. Blake says he picked up the knife before walking towards his vehicle, where two of his kids were sitting in the backseat. He then planned on driving away, but was also prepared to surrender once placing the knife in his car. Officer Sheskey said he feared for his life at that point. He claims he believed Blake was going to stab him, which prompted him to open fire.
However, Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Blake family, questioned Officer Sheskey’s story, citing there wasn’t any video evidence to support the narrative that Blake held his knife in a way that would threaten the officers.
Shortly after the shooting, protests erupted around the nation as demonstrators called for all three of the officers involved to be charged with attempted murder. However, without any video evidence, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced on January 5 that no charges would be filed against Sheskey. He said he couldn’t disprove the officer acted in self-defense.