Officer Rusten Sheskey did not violate police department policy in shooting Jacob Blake in the back in August, and has been allowed to return to active duty, the police department in Kenosha, Wisc., announced Tuesday.
Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said in a statement Sheskey returned from leave on March 31 and “will not be subject to discipline.”
Blake’s shooting on Aug. 23 made Kenosha the focal point of national outrage, after video showed Blake being shot as he appeared to walk away from police and toward an SUV where his children were inside.
Sheskey claims he fired because Blake was armed with a knife and he thought Blake might stab him, as he responded to a “domestic incident.”
In January, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley decided prosecutors would not bring charges against Sheskey since they didn’t believe they could disprove his self-defense claim.
“I know that some will not be pleased with the outcome; however, given the facts, the only lawful and appropriate decision was made,” Miskinis said.
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Blake has since filed a civil lawsuit in federal court, claiming Sheskey used excessive force and acted with “malice, willfulness, and reckless indifference.”
Tuesday’s announcement comes as violence by police against the Black community is again at the forefront of national attention. The trial of Derek Chauvin—who’s accused of murdering George Floyd last May—is now into its third week, while the Minneapolis area is again the site of unrest after another deadly police shooting. Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was gunned down Sunday afternoon by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, after an officer apparently grabbed and fired her gun instead of a taser when trying to arrest Wright during a traffic stop.
Rioting erupted in Kenosha after Blake’s shooting last year, and it was in that setting where 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two protesters. Rittenhouse claims he was acting in self defense, and he’s pleaded not guilty to seven charges relating to the shooting, which include international homicide charges for the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26.
No charges against Wisconsin officer who shot Jacob Blake (The Associated Press)
Jacob Blake sues Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey, who shot him in the back in August (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)