Photo: CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA / EFE
The Justice Department reported that it will not pursue federal civil rights violation charges against the Wisconsin police officer who shot Jacob blake last summer, culminating in days of violent unrest in which two people were killed.
Kenosha Police Officer, Rusten Sheskey, shot 30-year-old Jacob Blake on Aug. 23, 2020, during a domestic disturbance call. The shooting left Blake paralyzed amid a summer of nationwide unrest over police tactics and racial injustice.
In its finding, the Justice Department said a team of prosecutors from its Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Wisconsin reviewed evidence obtained by the FBI and state investigators in an effort to determine whether Sheskey violated federal law.
“The department makes this decision because the evidence obtained is insufficient to prove that the KPD officer intentionally used excessive force.” said the Justice Department on a statement. “Accordingly, the review of this incident has been closed without federal prosecution …”
The agency said it informed Blake’s family of the decision.
State prosecutors declined to press charges against Sheskey earlier this year after he Video footage of the incident will show Blake armed with a knife.
Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said at the time that statements that Blake was unarmed were contradicted by evidence not captured in the widely circulating video of the shooting.
Authorities were trying to arrest Blake with a pending warrant when a knife fell out of his pants. Footage from the shooting shows Blake backing away from the officers toward the driver’s side of his vehicle. His two sons were in the back seat.
The incident occurred months after a nationwide reckoning that saw rioting and looting in several cities after George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020 at the hands of Minneapolis Police Officers
Kenosha erupted in riots over several nights that resulted in property damage caused by arson and multiple arrests. During a night of rioting, Kyle Rittenhouse, an Illinois resident, allegedly shot and killed two men and wounded a third. He claimed that he opened fire in self-defense.