Oct 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DOJ won't charge Kenosha officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times

Photo of a person holding a Black Lives Matter flag at a protest outdoors
Peaceful demonstrators protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 28, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Photo: Scott Olson via Getty Images

The Justice Department announced Friday it will not pursue criminal civil rights charges against the Kenosha police officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back as he entered a vehicle.

Why it matters: The shooting led to days of mass protests that ended in violence and death after an armed group faced off against demonstrators.

What they're saying: The DOJ said it was unable to determine that Sheskey "willfully used excessive force."

  • "Under the applicable federal criminal civil rights laws, prosecutors must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that an officer 'willfully' deprived an individual of a constitutional right, meaning that the officer acted with the deliberate and specific intent to do something the law forbids," DOJ said in a release.
  • "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 KPD officer willfully violated the federal criminal civil rights statutes."

Worth noting: Kenosha police did not start wearing body cameras until this September.

The big picture: Blake sued Sheskey after the Kenosha County district attorney declined to bring criminal charges, accusing him of excessive deadly force and violating Blake's constitutional rights.

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