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Kenosha DA says no charges to be filed against police officers involved in Jacob Blake shooting

Kenosha DA says no charges to be filed against police officers involved in Jacob Blake shooting
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A district attorney in Wisconsin announced Tuesday that no charges will be filed against any of the officers involved in the police shooting of 23-year-old Jacob Blake over the summer, determining the officers had acted in self-defense.

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley also said at a press conference that no charges would be filed against Blake in the case.

Blake was left paralyzed after he was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha police officers as he attempted to enter his vehicle.

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Cellphone footage from the incident shows Blake being shot multiple times when officers trailed him as he attempted to enter his vehicle. Blake’s three children were in the car at the time of the shooting.

Officers were originally responding to a call from a woman who said Blake took the keys to the rental car and would not give them back. 

Graveley noted that Blake had an active warrant for his arrest, meaning they had to make an attempt to arrest him. He also noted that Blake had a knife during the encounter. 

Officers deployed stun guns at Blake twice while attempting to arrest him, but they claim those were not able to get him to comply. 

The shooting prompted a new wave of protests and demonstrations across the country calling for racial justice and police reform, with NBA players briefly postponing their playoffs after the video of Blake's shooting made nationwide news. Blake was shot just a few months after the killing by police of another Black man, George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice took over the investigation of Blake's shooting, and several officers were placed on administrative leave in its wake. 

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“We are immensely disappointed in Kenosha District Attorney Michael Graveley’s decision not to charge the officers involved in this horrific shooting,” Blake family attorney Ben Crump said in a statement. “We feel this decision failed not only Jacob and his family, but the community that protested and demanded justice.” 

“This sends the wrong message to police officers throughout the country,” Crump continued. “It says it is OK for police to abuse their power and recklessly shoot their weapon, destroying the life of someone who was trying to protect his children.” 

Wisconsin Gov. Tony EversTony EversWisconsin GOP spent more than M on lawsuits since 2018: report Wisconsin Senate passes bill prohibiting police chokeholds Wisconsin governor announces reelection bid MORE (D) also slammed the decision in a statement, saying “ when presented the opportunity to rise to this moment and this movement and take action to provide meaningful, commonsense reform to enhance accountability and promote transparency in policing in our state, elected officials took no action.” 

Kenosha city officials geared up for protests in the wake of the announcement, which was expected this month. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) activated the National Guard to assist local law enforcement.  

The decision is just the latest incident of a shooting by police not leading to criminal charges against officers involved.

This has been a longstanding complaint of those arguing for the need to reform police departments across the country, and the way police are investigated when they kill people.