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The Wisconsin officer who shot Jacob Blake last year has returned to active duty and will not be subjected to any internal discipline.
The Kenosha Police Department announced Rusten Sheskey’s return in a statement Tuesday, nearly eight months after the officer shot Blake seven times in the back while responding to a domestic incident. Kenosha authorities told NBC News that Sheskey didn’t violate KPD policy in the highly publicized shooting, which left the 29-year-old Black man paralyzed from the waist down. The officer was placed on administrative leave shortly after the incident, and reportedly returned to the job on March 31.
“Although this incident has been reviewed at multiple levels, I understand that some will not be pleased with the outcome; however, given the facts, it was the only lawful and appropriate decision to be made,” Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said in a statement.
The shooting, which occurred on Aug. 23, ignited nationwide calls for Sheskey’s termination and arrest. The Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office ultimately declined to charge Sheskey in the incident, as prosecutors said it would be difficult to convince a jury that the officer wasn’t in fear for his life. Sheskey reportedly told investigators that Blake had drove a knife toward his body just moments before he opened fire. Blake and his legal team deny the allegation, claiming a bystander’s cellphone footage does not show Blake “brandishing” a knife.
“Jacob did nothing to provoke police. …” Blake’s attorney Benjamin Crump said in a statement. “Witnesses confirm that he was not in possession of a knife and didn’t threaten officers in any way.”
Blake is now suing Sheskey for “excessive and unnecessary” force. He is seeking unspecified damages.