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

CONTACT
Gina Physic
gphysic@advancementproject.org
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

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