(CNN)The Kenosha, Wisconsin, District Attorney’s Office is nearing its decision on whether to charge the police officer who shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, last year.
Rusten Sheskey, a White officer, shot Blake, 29, in the back seven times on August 23, 2020. Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley is tasked with investigating Blake’s shooting.The incident, captured on disturbing video, increased tensions across the US last year, where thousands of protesters took to the streets after the repeated deaths of Black people — including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor — at the hands of police. Athletes in the NBA, MLS and MLB refused to play in a show of solidarity and outrage following Blake’s shooting.Graveley on Tuesday announced he would not charge any of the officers involved in the shooting. He also did not charge Blake.Here’s a guide to everyone involved in the case of Blake’s shooting.Read MoreJacob BlakeJacob Blake delivers a message from a hospital bed in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 5, 2020.Blake was shot by Sheskey, an officer who was responding to a call about a domestic incident. Blake’s three children were also in the car when he was shot.He survived the shooting, but was left paralyzed from the waist down. Blake suffered injuries to his arm, kidney, liver and spinal cord, according to Patrick Salvi Jr., one of his attorneys.”He had a bullet go through some or all of his spinal cord, at least one bullet. He has holes in his stomach,” Salvi said last August. “He had to have nearly his entire colon and small intestines removed.”From his hospital bed in August of 2020, Blake shared a video message with his supporters.”Your life and not only just your life, your legs — something that you need to move around, to move forward in life — can be taken like this, man,” he said, snapping his fingers.Blake left a Milwaukee hospital in October 2020, according to Patrick Cafferty, another of Blake’s attorneys. The attorney also said in October that Blake spent time “in a spinal injury rehabilitation center in Chicago.” Rusten SheskeyKenosha Police Officer Rusten SheskeyDispatch records indicate that on August 23, 2020, Sheskey and other officers responded to a complaint from a woman saying that Blake was not supposed to be at her residence and would not leave. She also said he had taken her keys and would not give them back.Sheskey told investigators that he used deadly force during the chaotic encounter because he was afraid Blake, while attempting to flee the scene, was trying to kidnap a child in the backseat of the vehicle.Sheskey was placed on paid administrative leave.Prior to the shooting, Sheskey pedaled around the lakeside city as part of the bike patrol and walked the shopping mall beat during the holidays. He’d occasionally bring a squad car home from work and turn on the siren for neighborhood kids, one neighbor recalled. As Jacob Blake's family seeks answers, little is known about the officer who shot himPolice and city officials did not respond to CNN’s previous public records requests for Sheskey’s history with the department, including any previous uses of force or disciplinary issues. According to a memo from the police chief published on the city’s website, Sheskey received a one-day suspension in 2017 for a violation regarding “safe operation of department vehicles.”Sheskey was sworn in as a Kenosha officer in 2013, according to photos of the swearing-in ceremony posted on the department’s Facebook page. He was following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who served in the department for many years, according to a post on the Kenosha Police Department’s Facebook page.Prior to joining the Kenosha Police Department, Sheskey was employed at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, where he worked his way up from dispatcher to police officer.A university spokeswoman previously declined to provide details about Sheskey’s tenure other than to say he worked there from 2009 to 2013 as a dispatcher, police service associate and, finally, officer.Raysean White White is the man who recorded Blake’s shooting. He told CNN in August he was angry and traumatized by what he recorded, adding that he was unable to sleep.Man who recorded Jacob Blake's shooting says he's traumatized and cannot sleep“The police want everybody to know they’re out here to protect and serve, but you guys are constantly giving us — Black people, in particular — reasons not to let you guys protect and serve,” White said. “We don’t want you guys around because we are scared for our lives. You come to an incident to disarm an argument, and this Black man gets shot. It wasn’t supposed to go down (like) that.”Attorney Ben Crump posted the video on Twitter, where it drew 2.4 million views. The video also helped ignite protests in Kenosha. Kenosha County District Attorney Michael GraveleyKenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley speaks with a man during a news conference in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 26, 2020.Graveley is tasked with investigating Blake’s shooting and determining whether charges are brought against the officer who shot Blake. The district attorney also retained former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray to act as a consultant in the investigation into the shooting, according to the Wisconsin Justice Department. Former Madison police chief to consult on Jacob Blake shootingWray will review the investigative file and provide his analysis, which will help the district attorney as he decides whether to bring charges against the police officer, according to the statement.”Chief Wray’s analysis will assist the district attorney in his review of the facts and their relationship with standard law enforcement practices as he makes a charging decision,” according to a September 2020 press release from the Justice Department.Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian City of Kenosha Mayor John AntaramianAntaramian was elected in 2016, according to the Kenosha County Clerk’s office. At the time of the shooting, he said during a news conference that the Kenosha Police Department did not have body cameras. The lack of such body cameras left investigators lacking an important record of what occurred between Blake and the officers. The Kenosha County Board of Supervisors has since passed a bonding resolution to fund the 2021 budget, including new body cameras for the sheriff’s office.In an op-ed published in the Kenosha News on December 27, 2020, Antaramian and Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said they did not know what the charging decision would be or when it would arrive, but they said they will be prepared.”What we do know is that regardless of the decision, people will have differing opinions and strong emotions about it,” the officials wrote. “That is everyone’s right. Whether you agree or disagree, we ask that you express your opinions peacefully and lawfully.”On Monday, Antaramian and Miskinis announced a precautionary safety plan for the public ahead of the impending charging decision. That includes instituting a curfew in Kenosha.Local authorities also requested the assistance of the Wisconsin National Guard this week in advance of a decision, Gov. Tony Evers said.Kenosha Police Chief Daniel MiskinisPolice Chief Daniel Miskinis speaks at a news conference on August 26, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Miskinis has been leading Kenosha’s police department since 2016, according to Kenosha’s website.In August, a deadly shooting took place during protests spurred by Blake’s shooting. Miskinis appeared to shift the blame for the shooting to those who broke the city’s curfew. “Everybody involved was out after the curfew,” Miskinis said. “I’m not gonna make a great deal of it but the point is — the curfew’s in place to protect. Had persons not been out involved in violation of that, perhaps the situation that unfolded would not have happened.”Kyle RittenhouseKyle RittenhouseRittenhouse, 17, faces charges that he killed Anthony M. Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz during protests that followed the police shooting of Blake.The Illinois teen faces two felony charges of homicide in the death of Rosenbaum and Huber, and a felony attempted homicide charge in the case of Grosskreutz.He is also charged with possession of a dangerous weapon while under the age of 18, a misdemeanor, according to court records.Rittenhouse’s attorney, Mark Richards, says his client was acting in self-defense. On Tuesday, Rittenhouse pleaded not guilty to all charges against him during a virtual arraignment held via Zoom. Rittenhouse is due back in court on March 10 for a judicial pre-trial hearing.
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