On January 5, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced that there would be no charges against police officer Rusten Sheskey, who attempted to execute Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, by shooting him seven times in the back at point blank range on August 23, 2020. Blake was shot while his children watched in horror from the back seat of his vehicle. The other two officers who assisted Sheskey in his crime will also face no charges.
While this ruling is a gross miscarriage of justice, it was not unexpected. Since the beginning of the new year, stories have been circulating out of Kenosha about windows being shuttered, buildings being barricaded, and roads being closed. The mayor of Kenosha was given emergency powers and Democratic governor Tony Evers has again mobilized the Wisconsin National Guard, sending 500 troops to the city. The actions taken in the days before this non-decision were reminiscent of the Louisville response in the lead up to the Breonna Taylor ruling.
What the world witnessed at the end of this past summer was not an individual misjudgment on the part of Officer Sheskey, but yet another attempt at cold-blooded murder of a Black man by the hands of a bloodthirsty cop as a part of a system that fundamentally devalues the lives of Black and other oppressed peoples.
After the attempted murder of Jacob Blake, Kenosha exploded. Many marched and buildings were burned. The eyes of the world were focused on the city. People made it very clear: they wanted justice and were willing to do what it takes to get it.
This ruling must be reversed. Sheskey must be charged with and, later, found guilty of attempted murder. His accomplices should be handled similarly. Anything short of this course of action must be met with tremendous resistance by the masses of working and oppressed people in the city of Kenosha, across southeastern Wisconsin, and all over the country. When there is no justice, there can be no peace.
Justice for Jacob Blake! Charge and convict Officer Rusten Sheskey! Demand democratic community control of the police! No more killer cops! All power to the people!
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