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 was struck by gunfire and wounded during a domestic disturbance call in August.
Graveley said during a press conference Tuesday that the decision was made “independent of political forces or outside winds that swirl about.” He added that Blake will not face charges related to his alleged criminal activity months ago, and the district attorney 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 the Aug. 23 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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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