Kenosha Officer Who Shot Jacob Blake Will Not Face Federal Civil Rights Charges

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On Friday, the U.S. Justice Department said it will not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer for his involvement in the shooting of Jacob Blake, ABC News reports.

On Aug. 23, 2020, Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake seven times in the back, in front of his three sons, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, after responding to a report of a domestic dispute, the authorities claimed. 

An unfolded knife was found on the driver’s side floorboard of Blake’s vehicle, authorities said.

After the incident, protests exploded in Kenosha and across the country against police brutality and racism.

Federal prosecutors said the evidence obtained was insufficient to prove Sheskey “willfully used excessive force,” the DOJ said in a statement.

“After a careful and thorough review, a team of experienced federal prosecutors determined that insufficient evidence exists to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the KPD officer willfully violated the federal criminal civil rights statutes,” the DOJ said.

In an interview with ABC News, Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., expressed his disappointment in the decision calling the criminal justice system racist.

“I was expecting more from the administration than this. I was expecting much more than this,” he said. “I believe that we’re in a systematic racist system and that this system was not set up for us. So I didn’t expect the system to work for us, because it never works for us. It wasn’t made for us.”

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Blake’s father vehemently disagrees that Sheskey didn’t willfully use excessive force.

“Seven times in the back is excessive,” he said. “I don’t care if you’re a dog. Seven times in the back, that’s not excessive?”

Last year, Mike Gravley, Kenosha District Attorney, also declined to file any criminal charges against Sheskey. According to the D.A., the officer was justified in his use of force because he was acting in self-defense as Blake was armed with a knife.

Sheskey was not disciplined by the Kenosha Police Department for his use of  force, which said he was acting “within policy.”

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