On Friday, federal prosecutors announced that they would not file charges against the white officer who shot Jacob Blake last year.
Blake’s shooting, which took place in Wisconsin, resulted in protests that led to the deaths of two men.
Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake, a Black male, after responding to a domestic disturbance call in August 2020. The victim was left paralyzed, USA Today reported.
State-level prosecutors also decided not to file charges against Sheskey after a video showed that Blake, who was wanted on a felony warrant, was armed with a knife.
The U.S. Department of Justice conducted its own investigation following the shooting. The agency announced Friday that a team of prosecutors from its Civil Rights Division and the U.S. attorney’s office in Milwaukee reviewed police reports, witness statements, dispatch logs, and videos of the incident and concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the officer used excessive force or violated Blake’s federal rights.
“Accordingly, the review of this incident has been closed without a federal prosecution,” the Justice Department said in a news release.
Blake’s uncle, Justin Blake, called the decision “unconscionable.” Adding that, it “definitely steps on every civil right we can imagine this country owes every African American descendant.”
“If we had a heart to be broken, it would be,” he said. “But because we’ve been through all we’ve been, we’re not.”
Prosecutors felt Sheskey could successfully argue that he fired in self-defense.
Sheskey and other officers responded to a call from a woman who reported that her boyfriend wasn’t supposed to be at her home. When they arrived at the scene, the woman told them that Blake was trying to take her kids and car.
Blake fought with the officers when they attempted to arrest him.
Sheskey and another officer used their stun guns to shock Blake, but to no avail. Blake then tried to get into the SUV with his young children in tow, prompting Sheskey to grab his shirt. Sheskey told investigators that he was afraid Blake would drive off with the children or use them as hostages.
Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said the footage shows Blake turning toward Sheskey with a knife and moved toward him with the knife.