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DOJ declines to pursue civil rights case in Jacob Blake shooting

DOJ declines to pursue civil rights case in Jacob Blake shooting
The Kenosha, Wis., police officer who shot Jacob Blake won't face federal civil rights charges. File Photo by Alex Wroblewski/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department announced Friday that it won't pursue civil rights charges against the Kenosha, Wis., police officer who shot and injured Jacob Blake last summer.

The department's Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin said there was insufficient evidence to prove Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey used excessive force when he shot Blake on Aug. 23, 2020.

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"After a careful and thorough review, a team of experienced federal prosecutors determined that insufficient evidence exists to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the KPD officer willfully violated the federal criminal civil rights statutes," the Justice Department said.

Sheskey, a White police officer, shot Blake after authorities were called to a residence for what they described as a domestic incident. Officials said the female caller described Blake as her boyfriend and said he'd taken her keys and refused to return them. She also allegedly said he wasn't allowed at the residence.

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Witnesses said Blake tried to intervene with a group of women who were arguing outside the residence when police arrived.

Police then used Tasers on him, but he allegedly fought with police, causing them to draw their guns. On a bystander video, Blake can be seen attempting to enter the driver's side of his vehicle when Sheskey grabbed the back of his shirt, firing seven times.

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Blake survived the shooting but was paralyzed from the waist down. He faced no charges in the incident.

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The shooting prompted several days of protests that turned deadly when 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse shot three protesters, killing two.

Sheskey was placed on administrative leave after the shooting, returning to the force March 31.

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