Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced on Monday that the officers involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man, in August in Kenosha, Wisconsin, will not be charged.
According to Graveley, there was not sufficient and admissible evidence to support an unlawful shooting charge against law enforcement. He also clarified that Blake will not be charged.
“This was a tragedy, first and foremost, for Jacob Blake, who still suffers from grievous injuries. These are life-lasting injuries that he suffers from today,” Graveley said.
“The challenge now and part of what I hope to begin in my conversation today is, rather than burning things down,can moments of tragedy like this be an opportunity to build things?” Graveley said. “Are there times and circumstances that are tragic where communities in their healing process can begin to make themselves a better community?”
The announcement comes months after Blake was shot in the back seven times by Officer Rusten Sheskey after Blake grappled with and then attempted to flee the police tasers and enter a vehicle containing three of his children. The shooting, which left him partially paralyzed, was caught on video and shows that Blake may have been holding a knife, which was later recovered from the scene.
Officers originally pursued Blake in response to a complaint from his girlfriend, who said he was violating a restraining order.
The shooting of Blake sparked mass outrage on social media and beyond, with many including the corporate media perpetuating a narrative that the shooting was unjustified and racially motivated. Shortly following the shooting, people took to the streets of Kenosha to riot, loot, and set buildings on fire in the name of racial justice and protesting police brutality.
At nightfall, Kenosha became rowdy as rioters threw projectiles at police officers who tried to contain the crowds, often deploying tear gas, pepper balls, and other “munitions.” According to The Federalist reporting on the ground, some businesses, a church, and a car lot were completely ripped apart from the chaos, looting, and arson.
Multiple victims were also shot during the fallout over the summer, some fatally, allegedly by teen Kyle Rittenhouse, who pleaded not guilty to all charges on Monday.
In light of the violence in the city over the course of the summer, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department officially declared a state of emergency on Monday in anticipation of the decision, citing the potential for “rioting, looting, damage to county and city property and civil unrest” as well as “escalating tension.” The Kenosha Common Council also approved a resolution for an emergency declaration in the city, conferring Mayor John Antaramian with emergency powers.
— Kenosha Police Dept. (@KenoshaPolice) January 5, 2021
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers joined the city in preparing for potential unrest by sending in 500 troops of the National Guard while others began boarding up their businesses and windows, closing down roads, and erecting fencing around public buildings.