The Kenosha police officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times in August will not be criminally charged, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced Tuesday.
The officer who fired the shots, Rusten Sheskey, could successfully argue self-defense before a jury because Blake had a knife, Graveley said during a Tuesday news conference. He also considered evidence that could not be seen on cellphone video of the incident, which showed Sheskey shooting Blake, 29, as he got into a vehicle with his children inside.
Blake, who was shot four times in the back and three in the side, according to Graveley, was left paralyzed. The video, which was widely shared on social media, sparked protests, vandalism and arson.
A jury would be required to examine the evidence from the officer’s point of view, Graveley said.
“It’s really evidence about the perspective of Officer Sheskey at each moment and what would a reasonable officer do at each moment,” Graveley said.
“Almost none of those things are answered in that deeply disturbing video that we’ve all seen. … Officer Sheskey felt he was about to be stabbed.”
Blake admitted he had a knife, according to the prosecutor.
“All the discussion that he was unarmed contradicts what he himself has said to investigators,” Graveley said.
Blake was an armed felon, armed with a knife, fleeing police, and trying to get into a car with innocent children. What would you want the police to do? Let him go? Let him possibly kill those kids? Run down someone in the car as he was fleeing? It is easy to make decisions with the benefit of hindsight. It is far more difficult in the moment.
Now I pray that Kenosha doesn’t burn.