KENOSHA, Wis. -- Reaction to the decision not to charge Officer Rusten Sheskey in the shooting of Jacob Blake last August has drawn reaction from local leaders, politicians, and also national celebrities.
We'll keep a round-up of reaction here as it comes in:
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers
Over the past year, our state and country have witnessed a movement—one that echoes hundreds of years of movements that have come before it, demanding justice, equity, and peace for Black lives.— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) January 5, 2021
Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes
I wish I could say that I’m shocked. It’s another instance in a string of misapplications of justice. It keeps happening, and there’s always a new excuse. The non-prosecuting DAs are as negligent as the officers in these situations. https://t.co/kJsXLzaqda— Mandela Barnes (@TheOtherMandela) January 5, 2021
U.S. House Rep. Bryan Steil
My statement on the Kenosha County District Attorney’s decision to not file charges against Kenosha police officers involved in the Jacob Blake shooting: pic.twitter.com/33fIydXGGZ— Bryan Steil (@RepBryanSteil) January 5, 2021
U.S. House Rep. Gwen Moore
This is outrageous. I am upset & heartbroken for Jacob Blake & his family. This decision is what allows a system of police brutality to continue, where individuals who are supposed to protect our communities can use excessive force and violence on Black people w/ no consequences. https://t.co/cmpi7pic0T— Rep. Gwen Moore (@RepGwenMoore) January 5, 2021
Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian and Police Chief Daniel Miskinis
Statement from Mayor Antaramian and Chief Miskinis on charging decision https://t.co/RfCp5S8or2— Kenosha Police Dept. (@KenoshaPolice) January 5, 2021
Attorney General Josh Kaul
“Irrespective of the decision announced today, this case is a tragedy. An incident that unfolded in just a few minutes will have a lifelong impact on Mr. Blake, as well as others."
“The past several months have been extraordinarily challenging for the Kenosha community. We need to work together, peacefully, to ensure that Kenosha—and all of Wisconsin—comes out of this difficult time stronger."
“There is a pressing need for reform of our criminal justice system. Across the state, there are dedicated public servants in law enforcement whose work makes their communities safer. But the system we have in place—which, unlike the criminal justice systems in many others states, has not been significantly reformed in recent years—has produced staggering and unacceptable racial disparities."
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley
“My heart goes out to the family of Jacob Blake, his children who were in the backseat when he was shot by police, and to Jacob himself as he continues on his road to recovery. They did not receive justice today."
“In the aftermath of the shooting I said that Blake’s wounds were the result of systemic racism, the policies and practices that entangle our institutions and produce racially disparate outcomes, regardless of the intentions of the people who work within them. Today’s announcement highlights just how pervasive these systemic problems are and the threat they pose to the lives of Black and Brown residents."
“The likelihood of an everyday citizen not facing charges after shooting someone in the back on video is slim to none. That shouldn’t change for the police. When the police are above the law that means it is time to look at changing the law to make sure officers are held accountable.“Today’s decision not only failed to deliver justice to Jacob and his family, but it failed to listen to the people in communities across the state and nation who demanded systemic change in policing in the wake of Blake’s shooting.“I urge everyone exercising their right to assemble in the days ahead to do so peacefully and safely. And, I urge leaders at every level of government to listen to their voices and work together to answer the demand for systemic change in policing and transparency at all levels. “
State Representative David Bowen
The fact that 7 shots in the back is "justified as resonable" to force someone black to stop leaving a scene where no one has been hurt & no life is at risk yet it is never handled like that for white folks is double minded. No one can convince me otherwise!#justiceforjacobblake— Rep. David F. Bowen (@DavidFBowen) January 5, 2021
Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler
ACLU of Wisconsin
As we've seen so many times before, the police were held to a different standard of responsibility than the rest of us.— ACLU of Wisconsin (@ACLUofWisconsin) January 5, 2021
Kenosha has continued a national pattern of giving police a pass when they shoot a Black person. Read our full statement: https://t.co/BIoMX3oQGh
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James
Senator Van Wanggaard & Representative Samantha Kerkman
“Charging decisions are never easy and cannot be snap judgments. They must follow the process, and complete a review of all of the evidence about an entire situation, not a seven second video. In this case, we appreciate that the evidence was thoroughly reviewed by two outside entities without conflicts, and that the entirety of the evidence was considered before making this important decision. Having not reviewed the entirety of the evidence, we are unable to pass judgment on whether or not the charging decision was the right one. We hope that others will do the same. People have a right to peacefully protest the decision; we hope that’s what occurs. Kenosha cannot have a repeat of the August riots. We have been in contact with area officials and the Governor’s office, and are hopeful that the resources are in place in overwhelming numbers to ensure the community and businesses are protected while allowing for individuals to practice their free speech rights.”
Kenosha County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson
“We all saw the video of the officer shooting Jacob Blake in the back and side seven times, and any reasonable person can see that Mr. Blake was not a threat to the officer, who could have used other means to gain compliance and arrest him, and allow the justice system to work.
“I was saddened and angry to learn of the Kenosha County District Attorney’s decision not to issue criminal charges against Rusten Sheskey, the officer who shot Jacob Blake.
“This decision demonstrates once again that we have different standards of justice for law enforcement officers and for Black civilians who are victims of police violence, and we have a long way to go to dismantle institutionalized racism in Wisconsin.”
“With this decision, once again we are witnessing law enforcement focus on alleged behavior of a victim of police violence and attempt to convict him in the media, rather than accountability for the law enforcement officer who used excessive and unnecessary force."