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Kenosha district attorney to announce whether officer who shot Jacob Blake will face charges

The Kenosha, Wisconsin, District Attorney on Tuesday is set to deliver his decision determining whether the police officer who shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, will be charged.

Rusten Sheskey, a White officer, shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, seven times in the back while responding to a domestic incident on August 23, 2020. Blake survived the shooting but was left paralyzed from the waist down. Disturbing video of the incident led to mass protests in Kenosha as well as across the US.

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely is expected to announce his charging decision at around 4 p.m. EST.

Tuesday’s announcement comes as anger continues to mount across the country at the repeated deaths of Black people at the hands of police. The summer of 2020 saw protests — some of which turned violent — calling for police reform and an end to police brutality, sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others.

Ahead of the decision, Kenosha officials prepared for potential unrest, with the City Council granting Mayor John Antaramian emergency powers once the announcement is made.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers also announced Monday he is mobilizing 500 National Guard troops ahead of the decision at the request of local officials.

“Our members of the National Guard will be on hand to support local first responders, ensure Kenoshans are able to assemble safely, and to protect critical infrastructure as necessary,” Evers said in the statement.

Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., on Monday called for charges against the officer while urging Kenosha to “stand up and make some noise.”

He added, “Let’s be heard around the world. We’re not going to stop in Kenosha. We’re headed to DC. We’re headed to Nancy Pelosi’s office. We’re headed to whoever is going to be in charge of the Senate. Because this has got to be federally heard, for not just my son, but for everybody who has suffered police brutality — everyone.”

Blake’s uncle, Justin Blake, said his nephew has been working to recover from the incident and has become “our new hero.”

“The way he is taking this mental approach, the way he puts all his effort into his therapy, and the passion, if anybody could walk again one day, it would be my nephew,” Justin Blake said.

‘Differing opinions and strong emotions’ around the decision

The city has been bracing for the decision on charges.

In an op-ed published in the Kenosha News on December 27, Mayor Antaramian and Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said they did not know what the 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. That is everyone’s right. Whether you agree or disagree, we ask that you express your opinions peacefully and lawfully,” the officials wrote.

“We will not — we cannot — tolerate the kind of violence we saw on our streets earlier this year and we will take definitive steps to protect our residents and businesses.”

Meantime, Kyle Rittenhouse pleaded not guilty to all charges against him during a virtual arraignment on Tuesday.

Rittenhouse, 17, faces charges of fatally shooting two men, Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and wounding another, Gaige Grosskreutz, during protests following the police shooting of Blake.

Rittenhouse also is charged with possession of a dangerous weapon while under the age of 18, a misdemeanor, according to court records.

An attorney for Rittenhouse, Mark Richards, argued that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense in a preliminary hearing last month.

Rittenhouse is due back in court on March 10 for a judicial pre-trial hearing.

Attorneys for Grosskreutz and Huber’s family announced Sunday they intend to file claims against the City and County of Kenosha, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, Police Chief Miskinis, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth, and other employees, according to the notice sent to Kenosha City and County clerks.

They are each requesting $10 million in compensation, due to “intentional acts and negligence,” Grosskreutz’s attorney Kimberly Motley said.

This story has been updated with the correct spelling of Michael Graveley’s last name.

Article Topic Follows: National-World

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