While it didn’t receive quite the level of attention that George Floyd’s police-related shooting did, the police shooting of Jacob Blake, 29, in August 2020, sparked another round of violent protests and riots around the country.
All eyes are on Blake’s case once again, as according to the Washington Examiner, the Department of Justice announced on Friday that it will not pursue charges against the Kenosha, Wisconsin police officer who had fired seven shots into Blake, a Black man, last year, citing “insufficient evidence.”
In the DOJ’s statement, it made clear that “it will not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges” against Officer Rusten Sheskey, who shot Blake during a domestic disturbance call.
Blake survived the shooting but was left partially paralyzed as a result.
The DOJ statement
President Joe Biden’s DOJ made clear in its statement regarding the case that it essentially doesn’t have any ground to stand on as far as prosecuting Sheskey.
“A team of experienced federal prosecutors determined that insufficient evidence exists to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the KPD officer willfully violated the federal criminal civil rights statutes,” the DOJ statement read.
In January, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravele had already came to a similar conclusion in a report indicating that it was virtually impossible, based on a lack of evidence, to prove that Sheskey acted outside of the law during his response to Blake’s domestic disturbance call.
“I do not believe the State could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Sheskey was not acting lawfully in self-defense or defense of others,” Gravele said at the time.
The backlash begins
A quick scroll through social media on Saturday morning revealed a growing sentiment of disappointment and anger at the DOJ’s shock announcement, including reaction from Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr.
“Am I upset? Well they’ve already made my son paralyzed. So what other means do we have as African Americans? What other roads do we take when the justice system fails us?,” Blake Sr. said, according to a tweet from ABC journalist Stephanie Wash.
Others cited video footage that they believe clearly showed Sheskey firing into Blake’s back, needlessly in their opinion.
“I remind you. The police officer not only shot Jacob Blake but shot him 7 times in the back. And no charges will be filed!? Pathetic Wisconsin!,” one Twitter user wrote. Another Twitter user captioned the news with, “Tear the whole system down.”