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Kenosha bracing for protests when charging decision is announced in Jacob Blake case

Kenosha bracing for protests when charging decision is announced in Jacob Blake case
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City officials in Kenosha, Wis., said Sunday that they are preparing for protests ahead of the decision by the county's district attorney over whether to charge any officers involved in the 2020 shooting of Jacob Blake.

The decision by the district attorney is expected this month, most likely before mid-January, officials said.

In a joint statement, Mayor John Antaramian (D) and Police Chief Daniel Miskinis pledged to respect the rights of residents to peacefully protest while warning that law enforcement would be on guard to stop "unlawful activity."

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"Mayor Antaramian has been informed that the decision is likely to be announced within the first two weeks of January and is working with Chief Miskinis and other partners to protect peaceful demonstration and to guard against unlawful activity. Our responsibility to public safety is paramount, and we are preparing for a number of possible public demonstration and safety efforts," the city leaders said.

Among the measures to be implemented include curfews, road closures and limitations on space where protesters are allowed to assemble, according to the statement.

Blake, who is Black, was left paralyzed after officers shot him in the back while he attempted to enter his vehicle. The Wisconsin Department of Justice said at the time that it was taking over the investigation into the shooting.

Kenosha police have said a number of officers were placed on administrative leave following the August shooting, but the department did not disclose the identities of the officers or how many were involved in the incident.

An attorney for Blake sharply criticized the police at the time, calling the shooting an "irresponsible, reckless, and inhumane" act.

Protests erupted in Kenosha following Blake's shooting. The demonstrations came amid nationwide protests against racial inequality and police brutality.