DA announces no charges against officers in Jacob Blake shooting
Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley speaks with reporters on outcome of investigation into August shooting
Progressive and Democratic lawmakers slammed the Kenosha County district attorney's decision on Tuesday not to file criminal charges against Rusten Sheskey, a White police officer who shot 29-year-old Black man Jacob Blake in the back seven times while responding to a domestic disturbance call in August.
"It is my decision now that no Kenosha law enforcement officer will be charged with any criminal offense based on the facts and laws," Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley told reporters in a news conference Tuesday.
Graveley noted the decision was based on evidence that was not captured on the widely shared cellphone footage showing the Aug. 23 shooting.
In addition to Sheskey, Graveley said that no charges would be filed against Jacob Blake or two other officers present at the scene, Brittany Meronek and Vincent Arenas.
NO KENOSHA OFFICERS TO FACE CHARGES IN JACOB BLAKE SHOOTING, PROSECUTORS SAY
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass, said that the "hypocrisy" of the decision is "maddening"
"We must legislate justice and accountability-for Jacob Blake and so many others."
"When will this stop?" Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., tweeted. "You can't reform a system that is centered on oppression and anti-Blackness."
And in another post she wrote: "7 bullets in his back in front of his family and kids, still paralyzed from the waist down. Nothing."
Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., said after "thousands took the streets to demand that #BlackLivesMatter" in 2020, "we begin 2021 with a shameful reminder that our criminal legal system was not designed for people who look like Jacob Blake and me."
Rep. Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, also issued a statement on the ruling, calling the decision "a complete failure by the justice system."
"Jacob Blake was shot at by Kenosha police 7 times in front of his children — this officer should have been charged, Pocan wrote. "Jacob Blake & his family deserve justice."
Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said that Wisconsin and the rest of the United States have witnessed a movement demanding "justice, equity, and peace for Black lives" and that the state and nation has "failed to deliver on these promises."
"Jacob Blake’s life has forever been changed and his kids witnessed violence no kid should ever see, experienced trauma no kid should ever endure, all while the world watched," Evers said. "And yet, when presented the opportunity to rise to this moment and this movement and take action to provide meaningful, commonsense reform to enhance accountability and promote transparency in policing in our state, elected officials took no action.
Evers added that the ruling is further evidence that we "must work each in earnest towards a more just, more fair and more equitable state and country, and to combat the racism experienced by Black Wisconsinites."
"I hope for peace and justice for Jacob, his family, and the entire Kenosha community. I reaffirm my commitment to action to build a more just, more equitable state for every Wisconsinite," he concluded. "And I ask those who will exercise their right to assemble tonight and in the days ahead to please do so peacefully and safely."
KYLE RITTENHOUSE’S MOM SAYS TEEN GUNMAN WAS ‘HELPING PEOPLE’ IN KENOSHA
Blake's attorney, Ben Crump, said in a statement on Twitter that they are "immensely disappointed and feel this decision failed not only Jacob and his family but the community that protested and demanded justice."
"This isn't the news we hoped for, but our work is not done and hope is not lost. We must broaden the fight for justice on behalf of Jacob Blake and the countless other Black victims of racial injustice and police brutality," Crump continued. "We will continue to press forward with our own investigation and fight for systemic change in policing and transparency at all levels. We urge Americans to continue to raise their voices and demand change in peaceful and positive ways during this emotional time."
Meanwhile, Jacob Blake Sr. said he was not surprised by Tuesday's announcement.
"We must abolish the right for policemen to be seen on a higher plane than citizens of the United States," he said from Chicago while surrounded by supporters, including Rev. Jesse Jackson. "You cannot have a bill of rights for the police and then have a bill of rights for the people."
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Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and Matthew D. Krueger, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, said in a joint statement that a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting of Blake is "ongoing."
"Federal authorities are committed to investigating this matter as thoroughly and efficiently as possible," they said.
In addition, federal investigations into the arson, rioting, and other violent crimes that occurred in Kenosha in August are also ongoing
Fox News' Louis Casiano Jr. contributed to this report.
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