Two Kenosha Police Department officers who were at the scene while Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a fellow cop were restored to active duty, according to CNN.
Vincent Arenas and Brittany Meronek reported back to work on Jan. 20 after they were placed on administrative leave following Blake’s shooting in August 2020.
“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,” a release from the Kenosha Police Department states.
Rusten Shesky, the officer who fired the shot that left Blake paralyzed from the waist down, is still on administrative leave and awaits the results of a review board who will contend whether the use of deadly force was justifiable.
In his account of events Shesky claimed he feared for his life and assumed Blake was attempting to kidnap a child, who was in turn Blake’s son.
The announcement comes weeks after Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley declined to bring forth charges in the case where Blake was shot at close range in front of his children during a birthday party.
Graveley said he came to the conclusion because there lacked proof that Shesky wasn’t defending himself, even though Blake’s back was turned. Police claim the use of force was justified, and alleged that Blake charged towards them with a pocket knife.
However, during an interview with “Good Morning America,” Blake confirmed he was in possession of a knife and reached to pick it up because it fell out of his pocket during his altercation with the police.
Blake told co-host Michael Strahan that he regretted the decision to pick up the knife and didn’t want to become “the next George Floyd.”
Blake’s shooting went viral adding more violent imagery to the canon of Black community members who have been victimized, brutalized and murdered by the police.
The approval of the two involved officers to return to the streets could signal there will be no disciplinary efforts made towards Shesky after the review board concludes their investigation.
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