Police officer who shot Jacob Blake, sparking protests in Kenosha, has returned to duty

Graeme Massie
·2 min read
<p>Men walk towards law enforcement with their hands up on August 24, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A second night of civil unrest occurred after the shooting of Jacob Blake, 29, on August 23.</p> (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Men walk towards law enforcement with their hands up on August 24, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A second night of civil unrest occurred after the shooting of Jacob Blake, 29, on August 23.

(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The police officer who shot Jacob Blake, sparking protests in Wisconsin, has returned to active duty his department has announced.

Rusten Sheskey shot Mr Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back leaving him paralysed from the waist down, when he responded to a domestic violence call in Kenosha last year.

“Although this incident has been reviewed at multiple levels, I know that some will not be pleased with the outcome,” said police chief Daniel Miskinis.

“However, given the facts, the only lawful and appropriate decision was made.”

The white officer returned from administrative leave on 31 March, and will not face any discipline for his actions as he “was found to have been acting within policy”, the police chief confirmed.

The department added that the incident had been investigated by an external agency and independent expert.

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced in January that Officer Sheskey would not face charges for the shooting.

Mr Blake has now filed an excessive force lawsuit against Officer Sheskey and is seeking unspecified damages.

Officer Sheskey’s actions were “undertaken with malice, wilfulness, and reckless indifference to the rights” of Mr Blake, the lawsuit states.

The officer reportedly told investigators that he used deadly force because he thought Mr Blake was trying to kidnap a child in the car he was driving and a pocket knife fell out of his pocket.

The shooting took place three months after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, for which former police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for murder.

Officer Sheskey was sworn in as a Kenosha police officer in 2013 and was mostly part of the city’s bike patrol unit.

Before joining the Kenosha Police Department he was employed at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, where he worked his way up from dispatcher to police officer.

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