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Justice Dept. clears Kenosha officer in shooting

Jacob Blake gives an interview to Good Morning America in January. Associated Press/ABC News/Good Morning America

Justice Dept. clears Kenosha officer in shooting

Federal prosecutors said they did not find enough evidence to charge Officer Rusten Sheskey with using excessive force or violating the civil rights of Jacob Blake, a man whose shooting set off riots and protests in Kenosha, Wis., in August 2020. The Justice Department announced its findings on Friday, saying it reviewed police reports, witness statements, dispatch logs, and videos of the incident. Blake’s shooting occurred during a volatile summer of ongoing protests against police, sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020.

What happened in Kenosha? Officers encountered Blake while they were responding to a domestic disturbance call. Federal and state officials concluded in separate investigations that Blake fought with three officers for several minutes, at one point shrugging off a shock from a stun gun. He was attempting to enter an SUV when Sheskey tried to stop him by pulling on his shirt. Investigators said a video showed Blake turning toward Sheskey with a knife and making a motion with it toward the officer. Blake, who is black, survived the shooting but was paralyzed from the waist down. In the nights of protests that followed, a man from Illinois shot three people, killing two of them, during one of the demonstrations in Kenosha.

Dig deeper: Read Anna Johansen Brown’s account of the effect of the protests on Kenosha.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kan.



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