News & Culture

Kenosha officer who shot Jacob Blake won’t face civil rights charges

Sheskey (KENOSHA PD)

KENOSHA, Wis. — Rusten Sheskey, the Kenosha police officer who shot Jacob Blake at close range last year will not face federal civil rights charges.

“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 (Kenosha Police Department) officer willfully violated the federal criminal civil rights statutes,” the U.S. Department of Justice wrote in a statement. “Accordingly, the review of this incident has been closed without a federal prosecution.”

Blake, 29, was shot Aug. 23, 2020, after he struggled with Sheskey and another officer outside a residence. Blake broke free from officers and reached into his SUV for what was reported as a knife.

Sheskey fired seven times. Blake was left partially paralyzed.

Sheskey, 31, was cleared of criminal wrongdoing in January, after a video showed Blake was armed with a knife. Blake would later say he was not thinking clearly during the struggle with officers and regrets reaching for the weapon.

“I shouldn’t have picked (the knife) up considering what was going on,” Blake told Michael Strahan during an interview on “Good Morning America.”

The shooting of Jacob Blake sparked several days of violent protests in Kenosha that culminated when Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Illinois, shot three people with a high-powered rifle, killing two of them.