Federal prosecutors will not press charges against a white police officer who shot and paralyzed a black man, Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year.
Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake during a domestic disruption in August 2020. The shooting, which left Blake paralyzed from the waist up, sparked several nights of protests.
Illinois man Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people, killing two, during one of the protests.
Rittenhouse, who is Caucasian, faces two charges of felony murder and one charge of attempted felonious murder.
Blake said Rittenhouse’s actions made him “furious”.
“For the reasons [police] said they shot me, they had every reason to shoot him, but they didn’t, ”Blake told CNN in August.
“Honestly, if his skin color were different – and I’m not prejudiced or racist – he probably would have been labeled a terrorist. “
At a preliminary hearing this week, an expert called by lawyers for Rittenhouse said he was vindicated because the men he shot confronted him and two tried to snatch his gun. Rittenhouse’s trial begins next month.
State prosecutors decided not to press charges against Sheskey in January, after video showed Blake was armed with a knife. The US Department of Justice launched its own investigation days after the shooting.
In a statement released Friday, the DoJ said that “senior federal prosecutors from the Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney’s Office reviewed evidence obtained by the FBI and state investigators to determine whether the officer violated federal laws, focusing on enforcing deprivation of rights under the guise of law, federal civil and criminal rights law that prohibits certain types of official misconduct.
“They performed a detailed and lengthy analysis of many documents, including police reports, law enforcement reports, witness statements, witness affidavits, dispatch logs, physical evidence reports, photographs and videos of parts of the incident. “
The statement concluded by saying that the department would not pursue the charges against Sheskey because there was not enough evidence to prove that he had used excessive force or violated Blake’s federal rights.
Blake said he would walk again.
“Yes I am here,” he said in August of this year, “and yes I am about to walk, but I really don’t feel like I survived because it could m ‘happen again.
“I didn’t survive until something changed.”