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A prosecutor did not file charges against the police officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin in Aug. 2020. 

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said in a press conference Tuesday that he was unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that police officer, Rusten Sheskey, was not acting in self-defense when he shot Blake. 

“I do not believe the state … would be able to prove that the privilege of self-defense is not available,” Graveley said.

WHAT HAPPENED

The interaction between Blake and Officer Sheskey initially occurred when the police department responded to a report that Blake was attempting to steal a car. The call came from the mother of Blake’s children. She told the 911 operator that she needed assistance to get her car keys back from Blake, who was going to drive away in her car. According to investigators, the officers arrived at the scene to find Blake putting his three children into the back of a vehicle. 

The officers tried to put handcuffs on Blake because he already had an active warrant out for his arrest, but Blake allegedly resisted. A struggle between Blake and the officers then ensued which resulted in Blake allegedly dropping a knife that was in his possession. 

Blake allegedly proceeded to pick up the knife and officers attempted to tase Blake. The officers claimed that the tasers did not affect Blake. Blake then tried to get in the vehicle. Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said that Sheskey grabbed Blake’s shirt as he was trying to enter the vehicle, but he feared that Blake was going to stab him with the knife that he allegedly picked up earlier. Sheskey then shot four bullets into Blake’s back, and three into the side of his torso. 

INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION

Noble Wray, a former chief of the Madison, Wisconsin police department, conducted an independent evaluation of the shooting incident. He concluded that the officers’ actions were justified, given that Blake had an active arrest warrant, possessed a weapon and attempted to leave in a car that was not his. Additionally, there were children involved in the incident.

“Any officer worth their salt, they’re not going to let someone leave under these circumstances. This is the stuff Amber Alerts are made of,” said Wray.

The shooting of Blake occurred in the midst of the civil unrest that was already occurring over the summer due to the death of George Floyd, who was killed during an arrest in Minneapolis. The death of George Floyd sparked widespread national outrage and the Blake shooting added fuel to the fire as racial justice movements descended across the country.

Written ByLinn Win

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