The Kenosha Police Department officer who shot and paralyzed Jacob Blake last year will not be criminally charged, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced on Jan. 5.
During a press conference, Graveley said investigators reviewed police reports and 40 hours of video. While he noted that the shooting was a tragedy for Jacob, his family, the police and the community, Rusten Shesky and the two other officers who were present during the time of the shooting will not be charged.
“It’s a narrow task today, it’s a legal and professional task,” Graveley said.
In August, Shesky shot Jacob, 29, in the back seven times as he entered his vehicle with his children still inside. The injuries he sustained left him paralyzed.
Following the incident, cellphone video of the shooting went viral prompting demonstrations demanding justice for Jacob. On the third day of protests, Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, shot and killed two men, Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, and injured a third man.
Many civil rights leaders and organizations criticized the DA’s decision to not charge Shesky. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the legal system is designed to cause harm to Black people.
“The criminal legal system, from police to prosecutors, is functioning exactly how it was designed — to oppress and harm Black people,” the ACLU wrote on Twitter. “Real justice would have been Jacob Blake never being shot in the first place.”
Jacob’s attorney Ben Crump and co-counsels Patrick A. Salvi II and B’Ivory LaMarr said in a statement to The North Star that they are “immensely disappointed” in Gravely’s decision, noting that the decision “failed not only Jacob and his family, but the community that protested and demanded justice.”
“This sends the wrong message to police officers throughout the country. It says it is OK for police to abuse their power and recklessly shoot their weapon, destroying the life of someone who was trying to protect his children,” the statement read. “This is not the news we were hoping for, but our work is not done and hope is not lost. It is now our duty to broaden the fight for justice on behalf of Jacob and the countless other Black men and women who are victims of racial injustice and police brutality in this country. We will continue to press forward with a civil lawsuit and fight for systemic change in policing and transparency at all levels.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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