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The Wisconsin police officer who shot Jacob Blake in August will not face criminal charges in the case after a “thorough investigation,” in part because his self-defense claim cannot be refuted, Kenosha District Attorney Michael announced Tuesday. Graveley.
“It is my decision … that no Kenosha law enforcement officer in this case will be charged with any crime based on the facts and the law,” Graveley said.
Blake was shot by police officer Rusten Sheskey, who was responding to a report of domestic disturbances on August 23.
Blake, who is black, was shot seven times in the back and was paralyzed.
In announcing the decision, Graveley said the determination came after a “dramatically thorough investigation” by state and federal authorities.
Investigators reviewed more than 40 hours of video, 200 separate police reports, 1,600 pages of police documentation, as well as a review of the case by an independent expert on the use of force, he said.
But in the end, he said the final decision rested with his office, and prosecutors determined there was insufficient evidence to prove to a jury that any of the officers at the scene committed a crime.
“The question, really the only problem in this case, is, do (the officers) have the right to the privilege of self-defense?” Graveley said.
He said prosecutors would not be able to convince a jury that the officers were not acting in self-defense, as officers claim, in part because the law requires the case to be viewed from the officers’ perspective.
“This case has to be laser focused on what a jury trial would look like,” he said, adding that “Officer Sheskey felt like he was going to be stabbed.”
Police who responded to the domestic call found Blake agitated and said he was holding a knife. The police tried to stop him, even tested it.
But Blake walked to his parked vehicle and opened the driver’s side door, leading police to believe he was looking for a gun.
That’s when Sheskey opened fire
“We are immensely disappointed and feel that this decision failed not only Jacob and his family, but the community who protested and demanded justice,” Blake’s attorney, Ben Crump, said on Twitter Tuesday.
“This is not the news we expected, but our work is not finished and hope is not lost,” Crump wrote. “We must expand the fight for justice on behalf of Jacob Blake and the countless other black victims of racial injustice and police brutality.”
Blake’s family also expressed outrage over the decision
“This will affect this city, this state and this nation for many years to come unless people get up and do what they are supposed to do,” Blake’s uncle Justin Blake said at a news conference. ,
“It’s unfair,” he said. “We went through 2020, we learned a lot. It is 2021 and we are not going or not. We are going to unite our people from coast to coast until we get justice. ”
His shooting sparked widespread unrest in the city of 100,000 people.
In recent days, Kenosha officials have braced for a new round of unrest, and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said Monday he would deploy 500 National Guard soldiers to quell the protests.