Two Kenosha, Wisconsin police officers who were involved in the Jacob Blake shooting have returned to duty.
According to CNN, Officers Brittany Meronek and Vincent Arenas returned to work on Jan. 20 after serving several months on administrative leave. “Officers Arenas and Meronek were not charged with a crime and after review by the Kenosha County District Attorney and an independent investigator, former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray, the actions taken by the officers were reasonable and justified,” read a release from the Kenosha Police Department.
However, Rusten Sheskey, the officer who shot Blake in the back several times, will remain on administrative leave “pending the findings of a Kenosha Police use of deadly force review board.”
On Jan. 5, Kenosha District Attorney Michael Gravely announced that Officer Sheskey would not face any charges for the tragic shooting, which left Blake paralyzed from the waist down. Following the announcement, Attorney Ben Crump took to Twitter to share his disappointment with the decision.
“Kenosha DA Michael Gravely will NOT charge the officers involved in the August shooting of Jacob Blake. We are immensely disappointed and feel this decision failed not only Jacob and his family, but the community that protested and demanded justice,” he wrote. “This isn’t the news we hoped for, but our work is not done and hope is not lost. We must broaden the fight for justice on behalf of Jacob Blake and the countless other Black victims of racial injustice and police brutality. #JusticeForJacobBlake.”
The Wisconsin Department of Justice claimed Blake had a knife in his hand at the time of the shooting and said Officer Sheskey was afraid of him. Attorney B’Ivory LaMarr, who represents Blake, says his client did not pose a threat.
“There was no point in the video that is articulable for an officer to say that he was under harm at that particular point. I think that’s completely bogus and I think that is just a rationalization to try to show what is really, essentially, an intentional act,” he said. “It’s not against the law to have a knife, people have knives for a variety of different reasons. Jacob Blake is privy to having a knife.”