DA convinced that a jury would not find wrong doing
Yet again, using the excuse that “the people” would likely not charge a police officer for police misconduct, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely Tuesday announced that officer Rusten Sheskey, who shot Jacob Blake in the back several times late last summer, would not be charged with a crime.
In what resembled a Netflix special, the Kenosha District Attorney and police use of force expert Noble Wray—ironically the police chief of Madison Wisconsin—put on quite a show, taking nearly two hours to make an announcement that could have taken less than 10 minutes.
This long drawn out press conference was just to tell the country what most Black folks likely already knew, It brought to mind the Shakespeare quote, “Methinks thou dost protest too much.”
Blake was paralyzed after being shot in the back by Sheskey on August 23 in Kenosha. Video of the shooting went viral. The video appeared to show Blake walking away from police toward his car, with two officers following closely behind and Sheskey tugging at his shirt and then shooting him after he opened his car door. The video provoked local and nationwide outrage and resulted in rioting and protests in Kenosha to demand prosecution of the police.
Related Story: Police violence spotlight shifts to Kenosha, WI (photos)
Gravely said at the press conference that he did not think the State would be successful in convincing a jury that the officer who shot Blake did not feel for his life when he acted. Gravely also said that the video shows that Blake had a knife. Ironically, the DA’s contention raises the question, if Blake in fact had a knife—and was threatening police—why was he not charged with a crime?
“When there is enough information to raise self-defense, the burden of proof is on the State, it’s on the prosecutor to disprove self-defense. So we would have to disprove the clear expression of these officers that they had to fire a weapon to defend themselves,” Gravely said, explaining why he chose not to charge Sheskey or any of the other officers on the scene with misconduct or use of excessive force.
“We have to find the right decision; it’s got to be grounded in truth. It’s got to be grounded in facts,” preached Wray at the press conference. Wray is African American and spoke as if he was trying to convince the African American community of the rightness of the decision. “They did not have any choice,” he said.
While siding with the State, Wray insisted that the decision was stressful and though he is a cop, he insisted as an African American male, “I feel it in the worst way.”
“Shooting an individual seven times while walking away from an officer constitutes that all the elements of intentional homicide were met,” said B’Ivory Lamarr, attorney for the Blake family.
“The facts presented by the state’s attorney during this press conference could have been presented in a different way, where a trier of fact would be able to come up with a guilty verdict against officers Sheskey,” explained Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer Anthony Burch in an ABC News interview.
At a press conference in Kenosha Justin Blake, uncle of Jacob Blake said, “His is a slap in the face by the Wisconsin government and DA . Where was justice? He [Sheskey] was a racist. He attempted murder on my nephew. He should be fired, indicted, and convicted.”
Apparently, the DA’s decision was known days beforehand by the State of Wisconsin, as they sought to “violence bait” those who they assumed would protest the findings, by announcing that the state had requested National Guard assistance in anticipation of unrest. But the protests against the decision in Chicago and Kenosha were peaceful.