Kenosha Police Officer Avoids Charges in Jacob Blake Shooting
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The Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times won’t face criminal charges, District AttorneyMichael Graveley said.
”If you do not have a case you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt as you’re going to hear me talk about, then you’re ethically obligated not to charge such a case,” Graveley said at a Tuesday news conference. “The question to a jury would be did Officer Sheskey reasonably believe that the shooting at Jacob Blake was necessary to prevent being stabbed by him or necessary to prevent someone else from being in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm.”
Officer Rusten Sheskey repeatedly shot Blake on Aug. 23 as he tried to enter a vehicle with his children inside, after an unsuccessful attempt to arrest him, according to a report by state Attorney General Josh Kaul. Police had been called to the scene by a woman who reported that Blake, whom she referred to as her boyfriend, wasn’t permitted on her property.
Blake admitted to possessing a knife at the scene, according to the Kaul report. Benjamin Crump, a Blake lawyer, said the incident left his client paralyzed.
Demonstrations and unrest followed the shooting, leading to clashes with police in Wisconsin and elsewhere. The incident was one spark for a series of summer protests across the U.S. decrying violence by police officers against minorities. Sheskey is White, while Blake is Black.
During one protest after Blake’s shooting, teenager Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly shot and killed two individuals and injured a third person. He was charged with first-degree intentional homicide and pleaded not guilty at a Kenosha court hearing on Tuesday.
The district attorney’s decision not to charge the officer comes four months after Kentucky’s attorney general announced he was not seekingmurder charges against any of the officers in the killing of Breonna Taylor, who was shot in her own apartment by policemen who broke down her door while serving a “no knock” warrant.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, on Monday activated about 500 National Guard soldiers and airmen in an effort to ensure public safety as the Kenosha County district attorney’s decision was announced.
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