Justice Department will not file civil rights charges against officer who shot Jacob Blake

Officer who fired seven rounds into Blake’s back will not be charged at state or federal level, authorities say

Alex Woodward
New York
Friday 08 October 2021 22:44
Comments

Related video: Jacob Blake Sr speaks to reporters in August 2020 after son shot by police

Leer en Español

The US Department of Justice has closed its review of the police shooting of Jacob Blake and will not file federal civil rights charges against the Kenosha Police Department officer who fired seven shots into his back in August 2020.

Justice Department officials made the decision “because the evidence obtained is insufficient to prove that the [Kenosha] officer willfully used excessive force” against Mr Blake, according to an announcement from the agency on 8 October.

“After a careful and thorough review, a team of experienced federal prosecutors determined that insufficient evidence exists to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the ... officer willfully violated the federal criminal civil rights statutes,” the agency announced.

The shooting of Mr Blake, who is Black, ignited racial justice uprisings in Kenosha following a summer of international protests against police violence in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

Earlier this year, law enforcement officials in Kenosha announced that the white officer who shot Mr Blake seven times, Rusten Sheskey, would not be charged with a crime.

The shooting – in front of Mr Blake’s three children outside his car – was captured in video that was widely shared across social media. Officials later said they were responding to a domestic complaint to make an arrest. The shooting left him paralysed from the waist down.

Kyle Rittenhouse, then 17 years old, fatally shot two people and shot another person on 25 August while carrying an AR-15-style rifle during unrest in Kenosha as protests continued against police violence. The teenager was charged with homicide, attempted homicide and being a minor in possession of a firearm. A trial is set to begin on 1 November.

“I was expecting more from the administration than this. I was expecting much more than this,” Jacob Blake Sr told ABC. “I believe we’re in a systematic racist system, and this system was not set up for us. ... So I didn’t expect the system to work for us, because it never works for us. It wasn’t made for us.”

“What other roads do we take when the justice system fails us?” he added. ‘What are we supposed to do? ... Seven times in the back is excessive. I don’t care if you’re a dog. Seven times in the back, that’s not excessive?”

The Independent has requested comment from civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Blake family.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in