Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley has chosen not to file criminal charges against a police officer for the 2020 shooting of Jacob Blake.
Blake, 29, was shot seven times in the back and was left paralyzed from the waist down. The shooting took place in front of three of Blake’s young children. “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 on January 5, according to CNN.
Rusten Sheskey, the white officer who shot Blake, was responding to a domestic dispute when he arrived and fired at the man. The other officers who were present at the time of the shooting, Brittany Meronek and Vincent Arenas, will also avoid charges.
The August 2020 shooting was recorded by a neighbor and the video was circulated widely. The incident came after months of Black Lives Matter protests following police shootings, including ones leading to the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Dreasjon Reed. The shooting of Blake led to protests as well.
On January 5, at 7:24 pm, the Kenosha Police Department released a short statement via Twitter, saying that the officers connected to the shooting would continue to be on administrative leave. “There are many inquiries into the employment status of the officers involved in the August 23, 2020 officer involved shooting,” the post began. “The involved officers remain on administrative leave.”
Americans are upset at the district attorney’s decision and believe it is yet another instance of police inflicting harm on a Black person without consequence. Ben Crump, Blake’s family’s attorney, with attorney B’Ivory LaMarr and co-counsel Patrick A. Salvi II, shared a statement after the news was released.
“We feel this decision failed not only Jacob and his family, but the community that protested and demanded justice,” it real. “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.”