On Tuesday, Kenosha District Attorney Michael Gravely announced none of the three police officers involved in the August shooting of Jacob Blake would face charges.
“It is my decision now that no Kenosha law enforcement officer will be charged with any criminal offense based on the facts and laws,” Graveley said.
After refusing to cooperate with the officer’s orders and resisting arrest, Blake was shot by Officer Rusten Sheskey when reaching into a vehicle, where a knife was found to be hidden and to which Blake admitted. The incident sparked nationwide outrage, with riots costing the state of Wisconsin more than $50 million in damage, stuck on the imagery of “white cop kills black man” without considering Blake was reaching for a weapon.
“Jacob Blake, while actively resisting, arms himself with a knife,” Graveley said. “It’s absolutely incontrovertible that Jacob Blake was armed with a knife during this encounter … All the discussion that he’s unarmed contradicts even what he himself has said multiple times.”
Sheskey said he shot Blake “because he was afraid Blake, while attempting to flee the scene, was trying to kidnap a child in the backseat of the vehicle.” Sheskey’s attorney, Brendan Matthews, said the officer heard the mother’s desperate plea, ‘He’s got my kid. He’s got my keys,” and saw no choice but to shoot.
Matthews added if Blake had been allowed to drive away and something had happened to the children, the narrative would have shifted to why didn’t the officers do anything to prevent him from fleeing the scene.
Blake also had a felony warrant out for his arrest for alleged sexual assault, where he was accused by a woman he knew of breaking into her home, where she was asleep in bed with one of her children, and sexually assaulting her. The officer who took her statement described her having “a very difficult time telling him this and cried as she told how the defendant assaulted her.”