“Miscarriage of Justice”: No Charges Against White Kenosha Officer Who Shooted and Paralyzed Jacob Blake
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AMY GOOD MAN: This is Democracy now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. We end the show in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
MICHAEL GRAVELEY: And it is my decision now, which I am announcing today before you, that no Kenosha law enforcement officer in this case will be charged with any criminal offense, based on the facts and facts. laws as I will describe them to you now. We have therefore decided that no charges will be laid.
AMY GOOD MAN: These were the words of Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announcing that no charges will be laid against the white policeman who fired seven shots at point blank range in the back of Jacob Blake, paralyzing the black man. age 29 in August. . The officer, Rusten Sheskey, fired the shots in the back of Blake as he leaned into his car – inside, his three little boys, ages 3, 5 and 8. Prosecutors argue the shooting was in self-defense because Blake had a small knife. Video of Jacob Blake’s shooting sparked an uprising in Kenosha in August against racism and police brutality.
B’Ivory LaMarr, a lawyer for the Blake family, criticized the decision.
B’IVORY LAMARR: I think that in 2021 it shows a very important thing. And is that there are three – three – justice systems in America. There is one for Blacks and Maroons, one for the police, and one for the rest of America.
AMY GOOD MAN: Jacob Blake’s father Jacob Blake Sr. also spoke on Tuesday of his son’s ongoing recovery.
JACOB BLAKE SR.: He is in pain 24 hours a day. But sometimes he has better days than others. And, of course, his body was strewn with bullets, seven in the back. They did back surgery, fusion surgery. But the incredible amount of pain caused by the muscle spasms, to sit there and have to watch it day in and day out, demoralizing as it is for you, think about how it goes in a 29 year old who was fully functional before. this.
JOURNALIST: How is your grandchildren?
JACOB BLAKE SR.: It’s hard on my grandchildren, but we’re here to support them. It’s very hard for them because they don’t understand. They don’t understand why Dad can’t stand up and chase them or play with them anymore. But they understand that they have seen, with their own eyes. They didn’t believe – and it may seem – the first couple of weeks, they really thought we were probably lying to them. They thought their father was gone and was not going to come back. And I used to – I had to keep telling them, “No, he’s here. He’s there. I will ”- because we could not accommodate them, because of the COVID, to see their father. You know, a kid needs to see what’s going on. And that’s what they wanted to see.
AMY GOOD MAN: It’s Jacob Blake Sr., speaking Tuesday, standing next to Reverend Jesse Jackson.
We are now joined by David Bowen, a representative of the Democratic state in Milwaukee.
welcome to Democracy now! You were in the streets protesting after Jacob Blake was shot and killed by the white cop. Your response to the prosecutor’s decision?
REPRESENTATIVE. DAVID BOWEN: Absolutely. First of all, thank you to the Blake family for being as strong as them, people who kept protesting, not giving up, always focused on the real goal, and that is justice. And in this situation, again, we are witnessing a miscarriage of justice. We don’t see a prosecutor capable of indicting an officer who uses his discretion to put seven shots in the back of an undeserving black man.
We go to the specifics of how he describes why he doesn’t charge, and the first thing he goes to is state law, the same state law that I and the Democrats tried to change at l He State Legislature of Wisconsin, where Republicans completely blocked it, did not. allow votes on any governor’s call for special session bills, many of which I continue to co-sponsor and lead. And that falls on our State Republicans, who refuse to allow this change.
So at this point that’s what they want. This is what they introduce. They want it status quo, so black people in Wisconsin may continue to be injured and suffer attacks like these that leave us in deliberate states of not being able to function the same, of not having access to be able to spend our day in court, just like any other white person who would leave a scene, any other white person who has pretty much something in their hands or a gun in their hands and not using it on the policeman, but they are there susceptible to whatever decision that these agents use. And having that blank check to feel threatened is now at the center of this debate. It is not and should not be allowed for an agent to be able to use his discretion to put seven shots in the back of a black man and never use the same action against anyone who is white doing something. similar or even worse to the police. .
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Representative Bowen, what are the next steps for you and other progressive lawmakers in terms of fighting for police reform in your state?
REPRESENTATIVE. DAVID BOWEN: Yes, the next step is for there to be fairness. The prosecutor, in his explanation yesterday, never entered into the history of this officer. He went on to go into Jacob Blake’s story only. He did not receive an official statement from the person who made the phone call to 911.
The use of force on a person who could potentially run over a vehicle, potentially run over a rental car, does not give law enforcement the right to use this level of force. And that’s why we’re going straight back to the same statewide standard we called for in the last session, which Republicans refused to adopt. Lethal force should be used as a last resort, not the first. Prioritizing life must be in the state’s statute as a duty for officers to abide by and use de-escalation tactics, so that there is a requirement by Wisconsin state law for our officers to follow. And we even find support, even among those in the police force. But this is the GOP, it was the Republicans of Wisconsin who stood in the way of this change.
So we’re going to continue moving in that direction with a number of bills that we raised last time around, and even more now, where we’ve tried to have a very even moderate proposal of Democratic and Republican ideas, and it was too called. It was called extreme. We will now move forward with policies that we know will get to the heart of this situation and that will come from the people. They will come from those who took to the streets, who demonstrated.
AMY GOOD MAN: We want to thank you, David Bowen, for joining us, representing the Democratic state of Wisconsin. In the next few days, we hope to speak with Jacob Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr.
Happy belated birthday to Dennis McCormick. Democracy now! produced with Renée Feltz, Mike Burke, Deena Guzder, Libby Rainey, Nermeen Shaikh, María Taracena, Carla Wills, Tami Woronoff, Charina Nadura, Sam Alcoff, Tey-Marie Astudillo, John Hamilton, Robby Karran, Hany Massoud, Adriano Contreras. Our General Manager, Julie Crosby. Special thanks to Becca Staley, Miriam Barnard, Denis Moynihan. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. Thank you so much.