Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back at point-blank range by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 23 as he tried to get in his car. Caught on video and shared, the shooting happened in the midst of nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
With a Democrat as District Attorney and a Democrat in the Kenosha mayor’s office, many community activists had hoped the police would be held responsible for the shooting, which left Blake, 29, paralyzed.
But in spite of the DNC’s continued promise of police reform, no charges were filed against Rusten Sheskey, the police officer who shot Blake, it was announced Tuesday. Sheskey won’t face criminal charges.
Relying on arguments that have generally protected police in on-duty shootings, it would be difficult to disprove Sheskey’s self-defense claims, according to Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley, a Democrat.
“As in most states, Wisconsin law holds that officers can shoot if they reasonably believe firing is necessary to protect themselves or anyone else from serious injury,” The Chicago Trubune reported.
A day before Graveley announced the decision, Kenosha Mayor John Martin Antaramian — also a Democrat — allowed the police chief to call in the National Guard.
Graveley claimed it would be hard to make a case against Sheskey. Blake lied to investigators and was “a suspected domestic abuser and a man who had an arrest warrant for sexual assault,” he said. “Blake also was arrested in 2010 by Cook County sheriff’s police in Des Plaines, where he was accused of pulling a knife on an officer during a traffic stop,” The Chicago Tribune reported.
“He would be subject to absolutely devastating cross-examination,” said Graveley, who failed to mention that a Cook County judge later dismissed earlier charges from 2010 against Blake. “That would be the jury trial that would occur if Officer Sheskey was charged.”
A Twitter user questioned Graveley’s timing. “Just think about when he dropped the news… When he knew the country would be focused on the runoffs and tomorrow’s certification…”
The Kenosha Professional Police Association, the union representing Sheskey, claimed Blake was armed with a knife and “forcefully fought” with the officers who tried to subdue him, ABC News reported.
“1 thing I noticed about DNC elites, they often defend w/ ‘policing is a local & state issue, they are limited at the national level.’ Then they fly in & endorse the police union candidates 90% of the time & help get the donor $ to them. Watch what they do, not what they say,” The Moguldom Nation CEO Jamarlin Martin tweeted.
Blake’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, released a statement blasting Graveley’s report and decision.
“This sends the wrong message to police officers throughout the country. It says it is OK for police to abuse their power and recklessly shoot their weapon, destroying the life of someone who was trying to protect his children,” Crump said.
“We must abolish the right for a policeman to be seen on a higher plane than citizens of the United States,” Jacob Blake Sr. told The Chicago Tribune. “We can’t have a Bill of Rights for the police and a Bill of Rights for the people. We’re all people. We’re all the same people. … Our fight is not over.”
The FBI opened a civil rights investigation immediately after the shooting. This investigation remains open, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The officers involved in the struggle with Blake claimed that he menaced them with a knife, which Blake has denied. A knife was found in Blake’s car.
“I do not believe the state could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Sheskey was not acting lawfully in self-defense or defense of others which is the legal standard the State would have to meet to obtain a criminal conviction in this case,” Graveley said in his report.
The decision didn’t sit well with Twitter.
Ayman Mohyeldin, anchor of “MSNBC Live with Ayman Mohyeldin,” tweeted, “Yes… the Kenosha district attorney thought it was appropriate to tell the public that Jacob Blake – who was shot 7 times in the back and is now paralyzed – will not be charged. So there is that.”
Another tweeted that all the protests over George Floyd against police brutality were for naught. “Yeah, im at a loss..national marches have not done a thing. I think the only thing that works in America in a globalized world, is economic boycott of corporations as much as possible. Political action hasnt shown it can create fundamental change.”
Tweeters failed to make sense of the decision, saying, “So they didn’t just use excessive force on a suspect, they shot down an innocent man, paralyzing him. THAT’S not a chargeable offense?!”
Blake’s shooting occurred after Sheskey and another officer responded to a report of a domestic dispute, according to the Kenosha Police Department. That was when they encountered Blake. The police claim that they tried to stun-gun him when he failed to comply but that the Taser had no effect, ABC News reported.
Investigators allege Blake broke free of the officers and walked around his vehicle, “opened the driver’s side door, and leaned forward” before Sheskey fired seven shots into Blake’s back, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation.
During the press conference, Graveley showed an enhanced image from the video showing Blake holding an object moments before the shooting. Blake had acknowledged to investigators that he had a “razor blade-type knife” in his hand before he was shot.
Regardless of what party is in power, Democrat or Republican, there’s the feeling on Twitter that when it comes to reforming the criminal justice system, it will make no difference. “These fake press conferences wasting folks time.. just tell us you don’t care in a tweet and be done with it. We don’t have to watch these same events where justice is never served..”
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.
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