Residents and officials in Kenosha, Wisconsin are awaiting the results of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot several times by a police officer over the summer.
According to WTMJ-TV, Kenosha County’s district attorney is reportedly preparing to announce whether charges will be brought forth against Officer Rusten Sheskey. Mayor John Antaramian and Police Chief Daniel Miskinis wrote an op-ed in the Kenosha News on Sunday (Dec. 27) calling for peaceful and lawful protesting, if needed.
“The Wisconsin Department of Justice, independent of the City of Kenosha, conducted the investigation, so we don’t know what that decision will be or when it will be announced,” the opinion piece read. “What we do know is that regardless of the decision, people will have differing opinions and strong emotions about it. That is everyone’s right. Whether you agree or disagree, we ask that you express your opinions peacefully and lawfully.”
The mayor and police chief also said they are preparing for the announcement and are working on a plan to keep everyone safe. “We will not — we can not — tolerate the kind of violence we saw on our streets earlier this year and we will take definitive steps to protect our residents and businesses,” the article continued.
On Aug. 23, Blake was shot multiple times as he attempted to enter a vehicle with his young children. The officers were initially called to the scene over a domestic incident. According to Attorney Benjamin Crump, Blake was trying to break up a physical dispute between two women.
Witnesses captured the encounter between Blake and the police on their cellphones. Video footage showed him struggling to get away from the officers before trying to get inside his car. Officer Sheskey grabbed Blake by the shirt and shot him at least seven times in the back.
The shooting left Blake paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors are not sure if the injuries will prevent him from ever walking again. In October, he was released from hospital and sent to a spinal injury rehabilitation center in Chicago, Illinois.