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Officer who shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, will not face criminal charges

The incident in August 2020 sparked days of destructive protests.

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Protesters in August 2020
Protesters in August 2020
(KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)
Updated: January 5, 2021 - 6:12pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A Wisconsin prosecutor announced Tuesday that he will not bring criminal charges against Rusten Sheskey, the police officer who shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha last year.

The prosecutor said the evidence was "incontrovertible" that Blake was armed with a "razor blade-type knife," which the suspect admitted possessing.

"It's really evidence about the perspective of Officer Sheskey at each moment and what would a reasonable officer do at each moment," Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said. "Almost none of those things are answered in that deeply disturbing video that we’ve all seen.

"Officer Sheskey felt he was about to be stabbed," Graveley added.

Sheskey shot Blake seven times on Aug. 23 as he was attempting to get into a vehicle in which his three children were passengers, amid a domestic dispute, according to the Associated Press.

Blake resisted arrest, and state investigators later discovered a knife inside the vehicle, authorities said.

The incident sparked days of violent protests among many across the country this past summer over concerns about police brutality. 

Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers announced earlier this week that he was prepared to activate 500 National Guard members ahead of a prosecutor's upcoming decision.

In addition to the governor's decision, the Kenosha Common Council unanimously approved an emergency resolution Monday that would go into effect when county District Attorney Michael Graveley announced the decision about charges.

Blake's father led a march through Kenosha on Monday, urging people to "make noise" and be "heard around the world."

The Blake family said prior to the announcement about no charges that they feared the emergency precautions were being put in place because Sheskey would not be charged.

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