The police officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back, leaving him paralysed, will not be charged.
Rusten Sheskey won’t face any consequences for the incident, which sparked huge Black Lives Matter protests, after district attorney Michael Graveley decided he was acting in self defence.
The shooting took place on August 23, 2020, when police were called to the home of Blake’s girlfriend, who complained he was there in violation of a restraining order.
Kenosha County police officers attempted to arrest Blake, but the use of a taser was ineffective. Video footage taken at the scene shows Blake, who reportedly had a knife on him, walking away from officers and getting into a car that had his children inside.
He was then shot in the back at close range by Sheskey. In video footage recorded at the scene, seven shots can heard.
Blake has been left paralysed from the waist down, after pieces of bullet severed his spinal cord, as well as piercing his abdomen and shattering some of his vertebrae.
The Justice Department was immediately asked to investigate the shooting, and district attorney Graveley has now announced that no charges will be brought against Sheskey, on the basis that Blake was carrying a knife and resisting arrest.
Graveley said he ‘would have to disprove the clear expression of these officers that they had to fire a weapon to defend themselves,’ Sky News reports.
‘I do not believe the state would be able to prove that the privilege of self-defence is not available,’ he added.
Meanwhile, Blake himself is currently serving two years’ probation as part of a deal in which he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanour counts of disorderly conduct, after prosecutors dropped the sexual assault charge against him, AP News reports.
At the time, the shooting sparked huge protests against police brutality, with more than 250 people arrested in the following days. One of them was then-17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot and killed Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum with an AR-15-style rifle. He has also been charged with wounding Gaige Grosskreutz.
Rittenhouse reportedly attended the protests following calls from right-wing militia claiming they needed to protect the city from the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. The now-18-year-old has denied all six charges and claims he acted in self-defence.
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