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Demonstrators march during a protest in New York City over the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wis., Aug. 24, 2020. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty

Police officers involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake will not face criminal charges, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely announced Tuesday.

The big picture: Kenosha was the center of protests, some violent, after officer Rusten Sheskey shot and wounded Blake, a Black man, on Aug. 23. The U.S. saw mass protests over police brutality and racism throughout the summer, set off by George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Russell Contreras: The lack of charges in the Blake shooting highlights the protections enjoyed by police, which critics say allows officers to abuse and terrorize communities of color. The Black Lives Matter movement seeks to abolish those protections and hold police more accountable for excessive force, but police unions are resisting changes.

Flashback: Cellphone footage from the August incident shows Sheskey, a white law enforcement officer, shooting Blake seven times in the back as Blake entered a vehicle with his children in the back. The shooting left Blake paralyzed.

  • The unrest that followed led to more than 250 arrests, including 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, an armed counterprotester who on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to charges related to the fatal shootings of two people, AP reports.

What they're saying: "This isn't the news we hoped for, but our work is not done and hope is not lost," Ben Crump, attorney for the Blake family, tweeted Tuesday. "We must broaden the fight for justice on behalf of Jacob Blake and the countless other Black victims of racial injustice and police brutality."

What to watch: Kenosha is bracing for another wave of demonstrations following Gravely's announcement, with business owners boarding up their places of work as concrete barriers and metal fences are set up around the Kenosha County Courthouse, per AP.

  • Gov. Tony Evers activated 500 National Guard troops to help respond to possible protests.
  • The Common Council unanimously voted to give the mayor of Kenosha power to impose curfews, among others, on Monday night.

Go deeper

Some members of Congress fear the Capitol mob attack was an inside job

Rep. Tim Ryan during a hearing last May. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

An information gap following the Capitol assault has fueled fears among members of Congress that it was an inside job involving the Capitol Police.

Why it matters: The mass resignations by the Capitol Police chief and Senate and House sergeant-at-arms, coupled with few briefings by federal officials like the FBI, have left important questions unanswered and a lone Democratic congressman from Ohio trying to fill in the gaps.

22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
49 mins ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.

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