The Department of Justice will not pursue charges against Officer Rusten Sheskey, the Kenosha police officer who shot Jacob Blake last summer. Blake, an African American man, was left paralyzed from the waist down due to injuries caused by Sheskey in August 2020, three months after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“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 KPD officer willfully violated the federal criminal civil rights statutes,” said the DOJ in a statement Friday. “The department makes this decision because the evidence obtained is insufficient to prove that the KPD officer willfully used excessive force.”
According to AP News, state prosecutors chose not to file charges against Sheskey earlier this year after a video surfaced showing that Blake, who was wanted on a felony warrant, was armed with a knife.
Blake sued Shesky in federal court under his Fourth Amendment rights, claiming the actions of the police were out of malicious intent. After referring to video footage from the scene, judges were unable to prove that Shesky acted with the intent to strip Blake of his constitutional rights.
"‘Under the applicable federal criminal civil rights laws, prosecutors must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that an officer 'willfully' deprived an individual of a constitutional right, meaning that the officer acted with the deliberate and specific intent to do something the law forbids,” stated the DOJ.”
Sheskey originally reported to the scene after Blake’s girlfriend called the police claiming he was trying to take her SUV and her kids. Blake did try to get into the SUV with his kids, and was armed with a knife, but it took three minutes for Shesky to use further force to stop Blake.
Last week it was announced that Kyle Rittenhouse, the then 17 year old from Illinois who shot and killed two protestors in Kenosha, was protected by hunting law to carry his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Rittenhouse claimed that he was carrying the assault rifle to protect businesses and used it in self-defense under the belief that he would have been assaulted without the use of his own force.