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Tuesday, January 5, 2021
No Officers To Be Charged In Shooting Of Jacob Blake In Kenosha
KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS) — No police officers will be charged by the Kenosha County District Attorney’s office in the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin this summer.
Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced the decision on Tuesday afternoon. He also said there will be no charges against Blake himself.
On Aug. 23, Kenosha police Officer Rusten Sheskey, who is white, shot Blake, 29, who is Black, seven times. Blake was left paralyzed from the waist down.
Graveley went into great detail as to why he made the decision – emphasizing that a prosecutor must build a case that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in court, and if prosecutors cannot do so, they cannot bring charges.
Graveley focused in particular on the issue of self-defense, noting that uniformed officers were called to the scene on a designated domestic abuse call and knew there were arrest warrants for Blake. He said the question was whether Sheskey reasonably believed shooting at Blake was necessary to prevent being stabbed by Blake or to prevent someone else from imminent danger – and if charges were brought, then the District Attorney would have to prove Sheskey did not reasonably believe such a thing.
Graveley said in Wisconsin, the burden of proof is on the state to prove an officer was not acting in self-defense, and he was not confident he could prove that case.
He added that he cannot bring charges to send a message about the misuse of force by police, to advance the cause of racial equity, or because the Blake family has suffered and needs healing – because while all are noble causes, they cannot legally be used as grounds to bring charges.
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