Rusten Sheskey, the Kenosha, Wisconsin officer who shot Jacob Blake last year, recently returned to duty after being cleared of any wrongdoing. An independent expert review and an outside investigation found his actions were consistent with departmental policy.
Sheskey will not face discipline for the shooting police authorities announced, as he was found to have acted within the policy. Shot in August of last year, Blake remains paralyzed from the waist down.
The Tuesday announcement comes two weeks after Sheskey returned from administrative leave. Inaction in Kenosha, along with the resignations in the Daunte Wright killing outside of Minneapolis, raise renewed concerns about policing and discipline.
Last month, Blake filed a federal civil against Sheskey, accusing him of endangering his two children who were just feet away from where Blake was shot.
Officers were not wearing body cameras at the time of the shooting.
Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley previously announced Sheskey and other officers would not be charged. Graveley determined Sheskey had a good case for self-defense.
“If you don’t believe you can prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt, you have an ethical obligation not to issue charges,” Graveley told reporters previously.
Selective discretion to prosecute cases regularly benefits officers accused of wrongdoing. The current trial of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin is more an exception than the rule. An expert for Chauvin justified the use of force leading to George Floyd‘s death in testimony Tuesday.
While Shesky has been cleared, Kenosha authorities continue to search for and prosecute individuals involved in activity in opposition to the shooting. In late March, Kenosha Chief of Police Daniel Miskinis announced 55 people were charged with crimes ranging from arson, burglary, and possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon to criminal damage and disorderly conduct.
Miskinis claimed only 35 people charged were Kenosha residents. The count did not include Kyle Rittenhouse, the white supremacist who drove to Wisconsin and then shot and killed two people and injured a third.
Last week, the Kenosha Police Department took a swing at an independent media outlet that kept running stories about a conspiracy or cover-up around the Rittenhouse case. Kenosha police previously explained confusion from the night of the three shootings.
Lee Newspapers reported it was the first time the department took time to address erroneous statements, noting several inaccurate claims making the rounds. Officials were concerned that the misinformation could “stir the pot” and set off another round of protests and confrontations.
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