Protesters marched in Kenosha, Wis. On Tuesday night to express outrage over the decision not to charge a white policeman for shooting a black man, Jacob Blake, in the back up close last summer, during of an incident that sparked a fierce uprising.
Tuesday’s rally followed an announcement by prosecutors that the officer, Rusten Sheskey, would not face prosecution despite shooting Jacob Blake seven times in the back in August. Blake survived the shooting but was left paralyzed from the waist down. Sheskey said he acted in self-defense because he feared Blake would stab him with a knife he was carrying.
The decision not to press charges sparked anger and frustration among protesters although the march was peaceful, with a group of around 50 people shouting “wake up, Kenosha” and “Seven shots in the back. . No, it’s not fair ”before they gathered in front of the Kenosha County Administration Building.
Blake’s family called the prosecution’s decision “unfair.”
Tony Evers, the Democratic governor of Wisconsin, had called the National Guard in anticipation of the protests, but said the failure to prosecute one of the officers involved in the attempted arrest and shooting of Blake was “proof further that our work is not finished ”. .
Blake’s family have expressed dismay at prosecutors’ decision and have vowed to bring the protests to Washington DC.
“Now our battle must go to Congress, it must go to the Senate,” said the father of the shot Jacob Blake Sr. “We will protest directly in the offices. We’re going to see Nancy [Pelosi] first … then we will go to the Senate until we are seen, until we are heard.
“It’s going to impact this city, this state and this nation for many years to come,” said uncle Justin Blake. “Unless people get up and do what they’re supposed to do. It’s government for the people by the people, isn’t it?
Josh Kaul, Attorney General of Wisconsin, said there was a “pressing need” for criminal justice reform and called for new police standards emphasizing de-escalation techniques to avoid the use of force .
Mandela Barnes, the state’s lieutenant governor, was sharper, tweeting: “I wish I could say I’m shocked. This is another example of a series of false applications of justice. This continues and there is always a new excuse. DAs who do not prosecute are as negligent as officers in these situations. “
Marquette’s men’s basketball team took a knee and wore black uniforms ahead of their game with the Connecticut Huskies on Tuesday, releasing a statement that the team were “extremely disappointed” that Sheskey had not been charged .
Blake’s shoot, captured on video of a bystander, shone the nation’s spotlight on Wisconsin in a summer marked by protests against police brutality and racism. Blake’s shooting happened three months after George Floyd was killed while being pinned down by police in Minneapolis, an incident also captured on video.
More than 250 people were arrested in protests in the days that followed, including Kyle Rittenhouse, a then 17-year-old agitator who traveled to Kenosha from Illinois and clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters .
He took an assault rifle through the streets and ended up shooting it at the protesters. He is charged with the fatal shooting of two men and the injury of a third, and pleaded not guilty on Tuesday at a hearing in his home state of Illinois, where he was arrested the day after the shooting.
A federal civil rights investigation into the Blake shooting is still ongoing. Matthew Krueger, the US District Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, said the Justice Department will make its own indictment decision.