Topline

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.

Key Facts

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.

Crucial Quote

“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.

What To Watch For

Blake has since filed a civil lawsuit in federal court, claiming Sheskey used excessive force and acted with “malice, willfulness, and reckless indifference.”

Key Background

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.

Tangent

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.

Further Reading

Jacob Blake Paralyzed From Waist Down After Being Shot In Back By Police, Father Says (Forbes)

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)

Chauvin Defense Opens Case By Highlighting A Previous Arrest Of George Floyd (Forbes)

Officer Who Shot Daunte Wright Meant To Fire Taser Instead Of Gun, Police Say (Forbes)

Kyle Rittenhouse Allowed To Remain Free Despite Violating Bond Terms, Judge Rules (Forbes)