Jacob Blake’s family will take fight past the DA’s decision

By: - January 7, 2021 5:41 pm

As Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely announced that no charges would be brought against officers involved in the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, National Guard and law enforcement personnel kitted out in winter-adapted tactical gear positioned themselves around the city. A quiet stillness hung in the air, particularly around Civic Park, the site of clashes between police and protesters during the summer.

Justin Blake, Jacob’s uncle, called on people around the nation to join the movement against police brutality. The family’s lawyers rejected the narrative that Blake was attempting to stab officer Rusten Sheskey as he walked away from the officers. Police say they were responding to a domestic violence call.

By the time the video capturing the shooting started rolling, officers had already tased Blake. Sheskey said he feared that Blake’s children, who were in the backseat of his truck, were in danger of being kidnapped. The family and their lawyers, however, assert that the shooting demonstrated a concerning lack of police training and professionalism.

On the evening of Jan. 5, some protesters gathered in and around Civic Park among the soldiers and police. Radio traffic from police scanners showed that officers were closely monitoring the movements of suspected protesters, and were communicating the license plates of various vehicles. A curfew was declared that evening, and the city’s emergency declaration is valid for an eight day period following Gravely’s decision. Blake’s shooting was investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI).


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Isiah Holmes
Isiah Holmes

Isiah Holmes is a journalist and videographer, and a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Holmes' video work dates back to his high school days at Wauwatosa East High, when he made a documentary about the local police department. Since then, his writing has been featured in Urban Milwaukee, Isthmus, Milwaukee Stories, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Services, Pontiac Tribune, the Progressive Magazine, Al Jazeera, and other outlets. He was also featured in the 2018 documentary The Chase Key, and was the recipient of the Sierra Club Great Waters Group 2021 Environmental Hero of the Year award. The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council also awarded Holmes its 2021-2022 Media Openness Award for using the open records laws for investigative journalism. Holmes was also a finalist in the 2021 Milwaukee Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards alongside the rest of the Wisconsin Examiner's staff. The Silver, or second place, award for Best Online Coverage of News was awarded to Holmes and his colleague Henry Redman for an investigative series into how police responded to the civil unrest and protests in Kenosha during 2020. Holmes was also awarded the Press Club's Silver (second-place) award for Public Service Journalism for articles focusing on police surveillance in Wisconsin.