U.S. decides not to pursue charges against police officer over Jacob Blake shooting

World7 minutes ago (Oct 08, 2021 05:00PM ET)

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Law enforcement officers guard during a protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S. August 25, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Sarah N. Lynch

(Reuters) -The U.S. Justice Department said on Friday it will not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer for his involvement in the August 2020 shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot by police several times in the back in front of his young children.

Blake was left paralyzed from the waist down. The incident sparked days of deadly protests against police brutality and racism in his hometown and across the country.

The department’s decision comes ten months after Wisconsin prosecutors cleared Rusten Sheskey https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-race-wisconsin/white-police-officer-cleared-of-charges-in-wisconsin-shooting-of-black-man-idUSKBN29A1YV, the white police officer who shot Blake.

In declining to bring criminal charges, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley found that Sheskey was acting in self-defense because Blake was armed with a knife and he had resisted arrest despite multiple Taser shots.

Two other police officers on the scene that day – Vincent Arenas and Brittany Meronek – also returned to duty in https://www.reuters.com/article/global-race-usa-jacob-blake-idINKBN29X0Z9January after previously being placed on paid administrative leave.

The Justice Department did not explicitly name the officer who will be spared of criminal civil rights charges in its announcement on Friday.

It said Blake’s family had already been told of the decision to decline to prosecute, which it made based on a lack of evidence to prove the officer willfully used excessive force.

“A team of experienced federal prosecutors from the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office reviewed evidence obtained by the FBI and state investigators to determine whether the police officer violated any federal laws,” the department said.

“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…officer willfully violated the federal criminal civil rights statutes,” it said.

U.S. decides not to pursue charges against police officer over Jacob Blake shooting

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