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Supporters of Jacob Blake rally in Kenosha ahead of shooting anniversary

Posted at 7:36 AM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 15:31:13-04

KENOSHA — A group of family, friends and concerned citizens gathered at Civic Park in Kenosha on Saturday to demand justice for Jacob Blake.

A year ago on Monday, Aug. 23, a police officer shot Blake during an incident outside of an apartment complex in Kenosha, sparking civil unrest throughout the city.

Blake survived but now lives partially paralyzed.

"We’re not asking, we’re demanding that all brown people are treated as our caucasian counterparts," said Jacob Blake Sr, Blake's father.

Blake Sr. has become a prominent voice against racial discrimination and police violence since the shooting of his son.

The officer who shot Blake, Rusten Sheskey, a white man, claimed he feared for his life.

An independent investigation into the incident ruled Shesky's use of force was justified. He was never charged.

“It’s unconscionable, and that’s what we’re fighting for. And not just for Little Jake, but all the Little Jakes across Kenosha and across the country," said Justin Blake, Jacob Blake's uncle.

Sheskey has since returned to work, though police tell TMJ4 he's not yet working out in the community.

Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian said in a recent statement he’s confident Kenosha has moved forward to unify and heal.

Some at the rally, however, still fear division.

“I’m hoping for change in my community, that some of the bigotry, and unfairness that occurs and corruption … we can clean it up," said Sue Cooper, a Keonsha resident.

Deshaun Foster brought his daughter to the park to watch the speakers.

"It's important for her to know where she comes from and what she represents, who we are no matter what anyone tries to tell her," said Foster.

The Kenosha police department said from October all officers will wear body cameras.

And according to Kenosha Police Chief Eric Larsen, Mayor Antaramian asked police to implement deescalation tactics and training following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The rally was peaceful, though after last year's violent demonstrations following Blake's shooting, concerns lingered for some.

At least one person who identified as a "street medic" showed up with a first aid kit and trauma supplies in a bag and stood beneath a tree throughout the entire event.

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