Kenosha Officer Who Shot Jacob Blake Returns To Work Without Discipline
The white cop who paralyzed Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man, from the waist down by shooting him seven times last year, has returned to work without any disciplinary action.
Police officer Rusten Sheskey returned from administrative leave on March 31 after an investigation into the August shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin. This emerges from a statement released by Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis on Tuesday.
"He acted within the law and was consistent with training," said the Sheskey boss. “The incident was also reviewed internally. It has been determined that Officer Sheskey acted in accordance with policy and will not be subject to discipline. "
Kenosha Police responded to a so-called "domestic incident" on August 23, 2020 when Sheskey shot seven shots in Blake's back and side as he leaned in the back of the driver's door of a parked SUV with his two young children.
Officers were not equipped with body cameras at the time of the shooting, but 22-year-old viewer Raysean White filmed the encounter and posted it online as people across the country protested the police brutality.
The video showed three officers yelling at Blake to drop a knife before any shooting occurred. However, White said he hadn't seen Blake hold one at all. A knife was later found on the driver's side of the SUV.
According to The Associated Press, Sheskey and two other officers were trying to arrest Blake on a pending warrant when a penknife fell out of his pants. Blake said he picked it up before returning to the SUV and was ready to surrender as soon as he stuck the knife in the car.
Kenosha District Attorney Michael Graveley said in January that Sheskey will not bring charges over the shooting, stressing that self-defense laws were an important part of his decision. He claimed it was "perfectly appropriate" to question whether firing seven shots was excessive, but Sheskey said he continued to fire shots until the "threat" ceased as part of his training.
Kenosha District Attorney Michael Graveley announced that no charges will be brought in the shooting of Jacob Blake and no charges will be brought against Jacob Blake on January 5, 2021. (Photo: KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP via Getty)
Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who represents Blake and his family, did not immediately respond to HuffPost's request for comment on the Kenosha chief's statement.
Blake filed a civil lawsuit against Sheskey last month for unspecified damages. The complaint alleges Sheskey's excessive violence, "carried out with malice, willpower and ruthless indifference to his rights," which put his children in "imminent danger" of being shot.
"Although this incident has been reviewed at multiple levels, I know some will not be happy with the outcome," said Miskinis. "However, given the facts, the only lawful and fair decision was taken."
Blake's shots put Wisconsin in the spotlight during a summer of demonstrations against police violence and racial injustice. The Kenosha shooting took place three months after the death by Minneapolis police of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man accused of using a fake bill. Then-officer Derek Chauvin choked Floyd by kneeling on his neck and back for nine minutes and 29 seconds.
When Sheskey returns to active duty, Chauvin is charged with the murder of Floyd's death. And a few days ago, a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright after he was pulled over for a minor traffic violation.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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