Kenosha County, Wi., District Attorney Michael Graveley won’t bring charges against the police officer whose shooting of Jacob Blake last August prompted weeks of violent unrest in Kenosha, a city south of Milwaukee. Graveley said that he wouldn’t charge Blake, who had actively resisted arrest and was armed with a knife, which he allegedly slashed at an officer before he was shot, reports the Wall Street Journal. Graveley said that a former Madison, Wi., police chief who reviewed the case at the request of prosecutors found that officer Rusten Sheskey, who is white, had behaved reasonably when he shot Blake, who is Black, seven times on Aug. 23. The shooting left Blake, who was wanted on a felony warrant, paralyzed from the waist down.
“This has clearly been a tragedy for our community,” Graveley said, adding that he made his decision based on a review of the facts and was not swayed by the politics swirling around the case. Civil-rights attorney Ben Crump and other lawyers representing Blake’s family said they were “immensely disappointed.” They said the “decision not to charge the officer who shot Jacob in the back multiple times, leaving him paralyzed, further destroys trust in our justice system.” A federal investigation into whether the officers violated Blake’s constitutional rights continues, said Eric Dreiband, head of the Justice Department’s civil-rights division. Kenosha declared a state of emergency on Monday night ahead of the announcement. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers authorized deployment of the National Guard to help preserve the peace and protect infrastructure. On Tuesday evening, a couple dozen protesters marched through the city of 100,000 behind a Black Lives Matter flag, followed by a line of honking cars. Some in the crowd wore vests identifying themselves as American Civil Liberties Union observers.