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Two Kenosha officers connected to Jacob Blake shooting return to full duty

Two Kenosha officers connected to Jacob Blake shooting return to full duty
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Two officers with the Kenosha Police Department who were placed on leave following their involvement in the arrest that lead to the police shooting of Jacob Blake last summer have since returned to full duty, the department said Wednesday

The two officers, Vincent Arenas and Brittany Meronek, were placed on administrative leave last August after a third Kenosha officer, Rusten Sheskey, shot Blake during what officers said was an attempted arrest.

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The news comes weeks after Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said that none of the officers involved in the arrest and subsequent shooting of Blake would face charges.

Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot seven times in the back while trying to enter a vehicle in which three of his children were sitting. He was left partially paralyzed.

Officers went to Blake's location to respond to a woman who said a man had taken the keys to a rental car and refused to return them. Graveley said the officers tried to arrest Blake after discovering he had an active warrant. Graveley also said Blake had a knife.

Arenas and Sheskey, who has worked at the department for seven years, initially deployed stun guns against Blake, the Wisconsin Department of Justice revealed days after the shooting in August.

But after those attempts proved “unsuccessful,” officials said, Sheskey fired seven times at Blake, who had walked around his car and attempted to enter the vehicle.

Though Meronek was present during the arrest, officials said she did not use a weapon.

Sheskey “remains on administrative leave, pending the findings of a Kenosha Police use of deadly force review board,” officials said. 

The shooting of Blake added fuel to widespread protests against police brutality and racism that took hold of the nation in the months following the police killing of George Floyd.

The decision not to charge the officers involved in the August shooting drew backlash from the public and among prominent figures, including Wisconsin Gov. Tony EversTony EversBiden rescinds Trump-approved Medicaid work requirements in Michigan, Wisconsin Wisconsin governor declares state of emergency over wildfires Wisconsin seeks over 0,000 in legal fees incurred from GOP election lawsuits MORE (D), who said at the time that “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.”