KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Supporters of Jacob Blake Jr. and others staged a rally and march in Kenosha Sunday calling for the firing of an officer who shot Blake.
Kenosha Officer Rusten Sheskey, who is white, was not charged in the August 2020 incident that left Blake, who is Black, paralyzed from the waist down. Sheskey shot Blake seven times while Blake was about to get into an SUV.
About 40 people gathered for the event, several of whom locked arms and blocked the main entrance to the Public Safety Building, the Kenosha News reported. The building is still boarded over from the civil unrest that followed the Blake shooting.
Kenosha police announced earlier this month that Sheskey had returned from administrative leave. Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said in a release that Sheskey was found to have been acting within policy and will not be disciplined.
Tanya McLean, Executive Director of Leaders of Kenosha, said in a statement before the rally that “safety and healing” won’t happen when Sheskey is allowed to return to work “like nothing happened.”
Sheskey and two other Kenosha officers were trying to arrest Blake on an outstanding warrant when a pocketknife fell from his pants during a scuffle. Blake said he picked it up before heading to a vehicle to drive away with two of his children in the back seat. He said he was prepared to surrender once he put the knife in the vehicle.
Sheskey told investigators that he feared for his own safety so he opened fire. The shooting happened three months after George Floyd died while being restrained by police officers in Minneapolis.
Blake last month filed a civil lawsuit accusing the officer of excessive force.