The police officer who shot Jacob Blake in Wisconsin last August will not face federal charges, prosecutors said on Friday.
Officer Rusten Sheskey, who is white, shot Blake, who is black, seven times in the back during a domestic dispute in Kenosha. The shooting left Blake paralyzed and led to widespread protests and riots, which turned deadly.
Wisconsin prosecutors declined to charge Sheskey earlier this year after determining Blake, 30, was carrying a knife during the encounter.
Federal authorities launched an investigation shortly after the shooting. Prosecutors from the Department of Justice’s Civil Right Division and US attorney’s office in Milwaukee determined there was not enough evidence to prove Sheskey used excessive force or violated Blake’s civil rights, officials announced Friday.
“Accordingly, the review of this incident has been closed without a federal prosecution,” the DOJ said in a press release.
Justin Blake, the man’s uncle, said the decision was “unconscionable” and “definitely steps on every civil right we can imagine this country owes every African American descendant.”
Sheskey was among the officers who encountered Jacob Blake, who was wanted on a felony warrant for sex assault, after responding to a call from the mother of his children, who said he was violating a restraining order, and was trying to take their kids and her vehicle.
Blake resisted being taking into custody, and was not subdued when cops fired stun guns at him. He tried to get into his estranged girlfriend’s SUV, which contained his three sons, and Sheskey grabbed his shirt.
Prosecutors said video showed Blake turning towards Sheskey with a knife, prompting the officer to open fire.
The shooting sparked protests, with Black Lives Matter supporters filling the streets of Kenosha for multiple nights. The incident took place three months after the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Some protestors lit buildings and cars on fires, and the National Guard was called in to quell rioting.
Illinois teenager Kyle Rittenhouse answered a local militia’s call to protect Kenosha businesses on the third night of unrest, and shot and killed protestors Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and injured another man.
He was charged with multiple counts, including homicide, and is set to stand trial next month.
With Post wires