The Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back last year, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, acted in accordance with police policy and won’t face any further discipline, his department announced Tuesday.
Officer Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department, returned from administrative leave March 31 following both internal and external reviews of his actions in the Aug. 23, 2020, shooting, which prompted deadly clashes in the city.
“He acted with the law and consistent with training,” Chief Daniel Miskinis said in a statement.
“Although this incident has been reviewed at multiple levels, I know that some will not be pleased with the outcome,” Miskinis said. “However, given the facts, the only lawful and appropriate decision was made.”
In January, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced that Sheskey would not be charged with any crime over the shooting after an independent use-of-force expert determined the officer had acted reasonably and appropriately when he shot Blake in the back.
Blake didn’t drop a knife as he walked to his car that contained his children, who were the subject of a domestic dispute. Officers had struggled with Blake and unsuccessfully tried to use their Tasers on him before Sheskey opened fire.
Sheskey could most likely argue successfully in court that he was acting lawfully by shooting Blake in a bid to protect the children, prosecutors said.
The January decision not to charge Sheskey was criticized at the time, including by Ben Crump, Blake’s attorney, who said that officials had “failed not only Jacob and his family but the community that protested and demanded justice.”
Crump is now representing the family of Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old Black man shot dead by a Minnesota officer Sunday.
The news of Sheskey returning to the force was announced the same day that the police officer who shot Wright and the chief of her department both resigned after days of protest in their community.
A decision on whether to press charges in that case is still pending.