KENESHA, Wisconsin — The white police officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times will not be charged for the August incident that knocked a black man down from the waist and caused a wave of unrest over police brutality, District Attorney Announced on Tuesday.
Officer Rustine Schiski shot Blake in August 2020 as the 29-year-old tried to get into a van with her children. The ironic incident was recorded via a video that became increasingly viral, sparking several nights of unrest in the Wisconsin city and causing the deaths of two protesters.
According to an independent usage-expert force reviewing the case, the entire exchange between the Kenosha officers and Blake occurred within 65 seconds.
Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced during a lengthy presentation at Brat Stop, a restaurant removed from the downtown area, “No Kenosha law enforcement officer will be charged in any crime based on facts and laws.” “It is our decision that no fee will be charged.”
Gravelle elaborated on her charging decision in a two-hour press conference, this was done after reviewing more than 40 hours of police squad video and more than 200 reports. He said his office was ultimately tasked with determining whether Sheski had a reasonable belief that he was at risk of harm by Blake, or that someone else in the area might be in imminent danger.
“Officer Sheskey felt he was about to be stabbed,” he said.
The district attorney said he spoke to Blake shortly before the press conference, stating that “it was the first tragedy and most important for Jacob Blake,” his family and the Kenosha community.
After the decision came, in the evening, a crowd of about two dozen people was stopped at 52nd Street, a major incident in Kenosha, and traffic stopped for a while. After the demonstration ended, 29-year-old uncle Justin Blake addressed reporters and said the family had spoken to his nephew about the DA’s decision: “We said that we only wanted that we pay attention to that today , He is better than that. Getting healthy “
Earlier on Tuesday, 24-year-old Joe Cardinally called himself a lifelong Kenshon, calling the decision wrong.
Addressing the Daily Beast, he said, “As it is, it is completely a punch of the gut,” still a complete punch. “
Lynette Stinson, 20, said she reached the peak of police protests last year. While Black activists like him were recently on edge about the possibility of right-wing hostility from outsiders in a city with a history of vigilantism, “it’s nothing compared to this summer.”
Instead of unrest, he was more focused on the impact of another cop who shot a man of color who could not accuse his community.
“I see my eight-year-old brother and I worry about him every day,” Stinson told The Daily Beast.
Ben Crump, a lawyer representing the Blake family, refused to go to trial. “We are deeply disappointed and feel that this decision failed not only for Jacob and his family but for the community that protested and demanded justice.”
“It’s not the news we expected, but our work is not done and hope is not lost,” Crump said. Meanwhile, members of Blake’s family fired the officers.
Although Sheshki and his co-workers were on leave following the incident on the day of the shooting, the decision by Kenosha County District Attorney to take charge took a long time. Ahead of the decision, Mayor John Antramian and Chief of Police Daniel Miskin took precautionary measures such as taking out a designated protest area, limiting bus routes and closing roads.
The city also approved an emergency declaration and Wisconsin mobilized 500 National Guard troops ahead of the announcement. On Monday night, Blake’s father led a march through the city, accusing and demanding residents “make noise”.
“Let us be heard around the world. We are not going to Kenosha. We are going to DC. We are going to Nancy Pelosi’s office. We are going to be in charge of the Senate, ”Jacob Blake Sr. said in March. “Because it can be heard federally, not just for my son, but for everyone who has suffered police brutality – everyone.”
Sheski worked in the troubled police department of Kenosha for seven years and prior to that he worked as a campus cop at his alma mater, University of Wisconsin-Parside.
In a 2018 interview with Kenosha News, when he was part of the Kenosha PD’s bike unit, he talked about why he likes being a cop.
“What I love most is that you are working with people on the worst day of their lives and you can try and help them as much as you can and make that day a little better Can, ”he said.
In the wake of the Aug. 23 shooting, the state’s Justice Department said officers were initially called to a house after a woman was there by her boyfriend when he shouldn’t have. A dispatcher told officers that the woman said, “Jacob Blake is not going to live there and he has taken the key of the complainant and is refusing to give them back.”
On Tuesday, Graveley ran 911 calls prior to the shooting, stating that officers were responding to calls for family trouble and were informed that there was a warrant for Blake’s arrest. Graveley also stated that Blake had a history of domestic abuse and that officers knew about it before answering the call. The DA said the woman who called 911 first called authorities about sexual harassment complaints against Blake.
Authorities later said they were trying to get Blake into custody on a sexual harassment warrant stemming from a prior domestic incident.
Prior to the shooting, Gravelle said officers and a witness heard Blake saying, “I’m taking the kids and I’m taking the car.”
Sheski and another officer, Vincent Arenas, at one time used a tusser on Blake which had no effect. Noble Ray, the independent use of force expert reviewing the case, concluded that Blake had been killed by Taser Prongs – but pulled him from his body.
Then, as the footage was filmed and widely shared on social media, Blake walked around his vehicle as officers pulled him over with his guns. He opened the driver’s side door, before Szek caught Blake’s shirt from behind and shot him seven times.
“Many orders are disregarded … and there are many ways that officers try to get him into custody,” Gravelle said.
Blake initially told officers he had a knife, according to a statement from the Wisconsin Department of Justice. A knife was later found on the driver’s side floorboard, and Graveley stated that Blake had a weapon during the incident and “refused to release it.” Ray concluded that Blake dropped the knife during the struggle, and put the 29-year-old Shiski in a headlock, before later withdrawing it.
Graveley said Blake was shot four times in the back and three times in the side as he swung Seskey just before throwing the weapon. Wray’s report also claimed that Sheskey fired so many shots at Blake because officers in the state of Wisconsin are “trained to shoot until they stop threatening.”
The incident, which left Blake below the waist, triggered a fresh outburst of anger that had barely come to a halt after the May death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police.
In the city of Kenosha in the days following the incident, buildings were burned and police deployed tear gas during the volatile protests. Kyle Ritenhaus, a 17-year-old armed vizante, who traveled to Wisconsin to protect the business from the plunder, allegedly killed two protesters and wounded a third during the most violent night of unrest.
He has since been charged with first-degree intentional murder, among other charges, and also pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.
The man who had already brought the teenager to Kenausha during the shooting, remained calm throughout his national headlines.
“There is more to live. Your life, your feet, can be taken from you at any time, ”Blake said in September from his hospital bed. “There is difficulty in breathing. This causes sleep. It longs to go from one side to the other. It hurts to eat. Please, I am telling you. Change your life there. We can live together, make some money, and make everything easier for our people. “
A month later, Blake was released from the hospital and taken to a rehabilitation center, where he reportedly received treatment by the end of November. Sexual harassment charges against him were dropped.
At around 9 pm on Tuesday evening, about 50 protesters chanted “Hands up!” Do not hit the police and National Guard troops in front of the courthouse city.
The deadlock did not proceed. But they were not alone.
Hours before the charging decision came on Tuesday, the city had already attracted outsiders with right-wing political agendas. Emily Cahill, 32, told The Daily Beast that she came from Plainfield, Illinois.
“Self-defense is not a crime,” he said, arguing with the convicted teenager “who was doing what any patriot should do.”
Soon after the DA announced its decision, half a dozen people openly approached the firearms house where the Blake family planned to issue their response.
Asked if he was taking away because of the threat of far-flung vigilance, a man who refused to give his name told The Daily Beast, “I’m taking over because I’m black in America And I have no choice. “