Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley on Tuesday announced he would not charge any of the officers involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake, who police shot seven times after responding to a domestic disturbance call in August.
Graveley said that the decision was made “independent of political forces or outside winds that swirl about” during a press conference Tuesday. He added that Blake will not face charges related to his alleged criminal activity months ago, and the DA said both Blake and his family “tried to be really positive forces for change.”
“This is a tragedy for those who loved Jacob Blake, he is a father, a son and a nephew,” Graveley told the press. “I really feel like the Blake family, and Mr. Blake himself, have tried to be really positive forces in the community, asking the community to have peaceful, but real, dialogue about change that I think is necessary in this community.”
Blake, who was left paralyzed after Aug. 23 the incident, was shot seven times in the back by Officer Rusten Sheskey after he appeared to disobey commands and attempted to enter the driver’s side door of a car, video taken by a bystander showed. Investigators later discovered a knife on the floorboard of the vehicle where Blake was struck by gunfire, according to NPR.
“It is absolutely incontrovertible that Jacob Blake was armed with a knife,” Graveley said Tuesday.
“All the discussion that he was unarmed contradicts what he himself has said to investigators,” Graveley said.
Citywide unrest, looting and violence toward law enforcement followed the incident. Upwards of 100 cars were set ablaze, businesses were ransacked and a uniformed officer was knocked unconscious after he was struck by a brick, videos and reports showed.
BLM rioters not holding back by vandalizing and looting local businesses here in Wisconsin pic.twitter.com/wzfWq9OlUU
— Drew Hernandez (@DrewHLive) August 24, 2020
The Wisconsin National Guard was activated on Monday ahead of the charging decision in case of further violence, according to CBS News. A total of 500 soldiers have entered Kenosha, businesses have been boarded up and fencing has been erected around a local courthouse, CBS reported.
Wisconsin mobilizes National Guard and Kenosha City Council approves emergency resolution ahead of charging decision in police shooting of Jacob Blake. Stay with @CNN for updates. pic.twitter.com/MYDLtOWZjh
— A D R I E N N E B R O A D D U S (@abroaddus) January 5, 2021
Blake had an active warrant at the time of the incident from July for three counts of domestic abuse, one count of third degree sexual assault, one count of trespassing and one count of disorderly conduct, according to court records reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation in August. (RELATED: Kenosha Police Won’t Provide More Information About Jacob Blake Shooting As The Wisconsin City Burns)
“We want justice and healing for Jacob Blake, the Blake family, and our Kenosha community,” Tanya McLean, leader of the criminal justice initiative Leaders of Kenosha said Monday, according to NPR, “Officer Sheskey fired seven shots into an unarmed man’s back, on a block where our children walk to school and our families go to church.”
Editor’s note: This post has been updated with additional statements from District Attorney Michael Graveley.
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