Advancement Project National Office Responds to DA Announcement in Jacob Blake Shooting - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Advancement Project National Office Responds to DA Announcement in Jacob Blake Shooting

CONTACT
Gina Physic
[email protected]
202-505-4659

WASHINGTON, DC — The Kenosha County District Attorney, Michael Graveley, today announced that Rusten Sheskey, the police officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times in August will not be criminally charged.

On August 23, 2020, Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot and seriously injured by police officer Sheskey in Kenosha, Wis. Sheskey shot at Blake’s back seven times as Blake opened the driver’s door to his car. Three of Blake’s sons were in the backseat of the car at the time, witnessing this attack on their father. 

This incident followed months of nationwide protest and uprisings in response to the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and local and national demands to defund the police. 

In a Tuesday press conference, DA Graveley said that Sheskey, the police officer responsible for paralyzing Blake and traumatizing Blake’s three sons, could successfully argue self-defense before a jury. This decision is an insult to all those advocating for justice and working to hold police officers accountable for abusing their power, and an insult to this country’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. 

In response to this decision, Advancement Project National Office will continue to demand that police departments be permanently defunded, nationwide.

“Again, the criminal legal system has protected police and not Black lives. Again, we are seeing no justice. We must continue to demand a radical transformation of this so-called public safety system so that we can all be free and safe,” said Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of Advancement Project National Office. “Let’s organize, protest, vote and repeat. Our power is the change agent.”

“Prosecuting cops will never bring justice, but prosecutors claiming they don’t have enough evidence to bring a charge is plainly a lie. It was a lie when former prosecutor Bob McCulloch and prosecutor Wesley Bell said it about police officer Darren Wilson and Mike Brown, and it’s a lie today,” explained Thomas B. Harvey, Justice Project director at Advancement Project National Office. “This is no surprise, however. Nothing new can be said about our legal system’s racism or its obvious goal to maintain a white supremacists status quo. That’s why it exists. We can only ever expect it to do whatever it can to protect state sanctioned racist violence. The only answer is to abolish the police.”

The American criminal legal system continues to expose its own biases and racist structure. So long as that truth is self evident and Black people are forced to exclaim that our lives matter, Advancement Project National Office is committed to taking action on the following demands: 

  • Defund the police 
  • Require #PoliceFreeSchools 
  • End qualified immunity 
  • Ensure elected officials refuse and return police union donations 
  • End 287 (g) programs 
  • Provide reparations for state violence against communities of color

Today’s decision did not go far enough, it instead showed us just how much work there is to be done. Building on the steps that we’ve already taken, Advancement Project National Office acknowledges that there is no such thing as police accountability when this country’s legal system is set up to protect and legitimize even the most violent, predatory, and racist acts of the police. Our organization vows to continue working with organizers and activists to defund police departments nationwide, in order to place us all on a path toward building a world that is free and safe for people of color. 

Advancement Project National Office is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit www.advancementproject.org

###

KEEP READING

“Rest Easy, Baba”—Advancement Project Remembers Bob Moses

Yesterday, civil rights champion Bob Moses, a civil rights leader and crusader for social justice and education, passed away at the age of 86. 

Read More
Advancement Project Calls on America to Move Beyond Police and Prisons: “We Can’t Reform This System”

A year after George Floyd’s murder, Advancement Project National Office reflects on how to build a #FreeandSafe society for all people of color.

Read More
The Best Mother’s Day Gift is Freedom

By Ashley Carter, Justice Project Program Deputy Director and Senior Staff Attorney Photo credit: Cyndi Elledge // Photos are a part of the #FreeBlackWomxn series. Visit www.freeblackwomxn.org. Thousands of women with children across the United States will spend this Mother’s Day behind bars. The crisis of mass incarceration has fueled a family separation endemic: more than 150,000 children have a parent who is in jail simply because they are too poor to afford their court-imposed cash bail. This year we are working to support the 2021 Black Mama’s Day Bailout organized and led by our community partners…

Read More
Black Mama Bailout: #FreeBlackWomxn

Michigan Liberation and the Advancement Project National Office have launched the #FreeBlackWomxn campaign, a photo and storytelling project that elevates the voices of Black Michigan mothers who have experienced incarceration. We are honored that Kimberly, Machelle, Geneva, Darnita, Dominica, Irene, and Tamika shared their stories with us. Click each woman’s photo below to read their experience with incarceration.

Read More
Photo of the back of a police officer
More Cop Convictions Won’t Stop Racist Police Violence

By Thomas B. Harvey, Justice Project Program Director Last week, as people across America waited for a verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial, police in Ohio murdered a 16-year-old girl, Ma’Khia Bryant. As Chauvin was found guilty on three counts for murdering George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ma’Khia Bryant lay dead in the street in Columbus. Credit: Fred Moon While we should hope that Chauvin’s conviction brings some peace and healing to George Floyd’s family, friends, and the broader Minneapolis community, Ma’Khia’s murder reinforced a disturbing reality: individual convictions are irrelevant to the movement to end police violence. Cops will continue to…

Read More
Civil Rights and Racial Justice Organizations Applaud Chauvin Verdict: Accountability in the Courtroom One Step in Journey to Justice

This verdict, while unexpected in light of far too many past cases like this, does not bring George Floyd back.

Read More
Advancement Project Welcomes Chauvin Verdict, Implores America to Move Beyond Policing

Today, in response to the conviction of Derek Chauvin for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter...

Read More
Advancement Project Statement on Murder of Adam Toledo

Today, we join Chicago in grief and outrage at the murder of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Latino boy whose life was cruelly taken by Chicago Police. We express our deepest sympathy to Adam’s friends and family; we stand in solidarity with organizers, activists, and the broader Chicago community as they take to the street to express their despair and demand justice.

Read More
Mapping Injustice: Navigating the Criminal Legal System 101

Grassroots organizers are leading the fight to dismantle the incarceration state. In its current form, the criminal legal system criminalizes and incarcerates people of color in the name of “law and order.” In 2021, Advancement Project National Office, along with Michigan Liberation, Close the Workhouse, Neighborhood Defender Service Detroit, Detroit Justice Center, and East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition (EBRPPRC), partnered to present a forum series on the various phases of a criminal case: Policing, Arrest, and Pretrial Trial, Sentencing, and Plea Negotiations Incarceration and Re-Entry During each session, organizers and lawyers mapped the…

Read More