"Officer Sheskey was not charged with any wrongdoing. He acted within the law and was consistent with training," Kenosha Police Department Chief Daniel Miskinis said in a statement

By Gabrielle Chung
April 13, 2021 10:48 PM
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Rusten Sheskey of Kenosha Police Department
Rusten Sheskey
| Credit: Kenosha Police Department

Rusten Sheskey — the Wisconsin police officer who shot Jacob Blake multiple times in front of his children last August, sparking numerous protests — is back at work and will not face any discipline, according to Kenosha Police Department Chief Daniel Miskinis.

Sheskey returned to his post in late March following administrative leave, Miskinis said in a statement released on Tuesday.

"Officer Sheskey was not charged with any wrongdoing. He acted within the law and was consistent with training," he said. "Officer Sheskey was found to have been acting within policy and will not be subjected to discipline."

The decision was made after the shooting had been investigated by an outside agency and reviewed by both an independent expert and the Kenosha County District Attorney, according to Miskinis.

"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," he added.

Blake, who is Black, was hospitalized on Aug. 23 after Sheskey, a white police officer at the Kenosha Police Department, shot him multiple times in the back while responding to what authorities said was a domestic disturbance. His children were in a car at the scene and witnessed the shooting.

The incident was captured on cellphone footage that went viral, sparking numerous protests over police brutality and racial injustice. Two people were killed during one such demonstration in Kenosha on Aug. 25. The alleged gunman in that incident, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, was subsequently charged with homicide. (Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty.)

In January, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said that Sheskey will not face any criminal charges in the shooting.

Jacob Blake
Jacob Blake
| Credit: Handout

Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Graveley cited that the decision was based on evidence that could not be seen in cellphone video. He also said Sheskey would be able to successfully argue self-defense if he were brought in front of a jury.

"It's really evidence about the perspective of Officer Sheskey at each moment and what would a reasonable officer do at each moment," Graveley said at the time. "Almost none of those things are answered in that deeply disturbing video that we've all seen. Officer Sheskey felt he was about to be stabbed."

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Blake, who spent six weeks in the hospital and was left paralyzed in the incident, filed a federal civil rights complaint against Sheskey in March.

According to the federal complaint, six of the seven shots struck Blake, with at least one severing his spinal cord. The seventh shot struck the side door of the car that held Blake's children, the filing said.