KEY POINTS

  • Sheskey returned from administrative leave on March 31 
  • The district attorney had earlier said Sheskey won't face charges 
  • Blake's attorney said the officer returning to full duty was very surprising 

Rusten Sheskey, the police officer who shot Jacob Blake, a Black man who was left paralyzed from the waist down after he was shot seven times last year in Wisconsin, will not be subjected to discipline, the Kenosha Police department said Tuesday.

Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said the incident was investigated by an outside agency and was reviewed by an independent expert, as well as the county district attorney. 

He was "found to have been acting within policy and will not be subjected to discipline," the statement said. Sheskey returned from administrative leave on March 31.

"Although this incident has been reviewed at multiple levels, I know that some will not be pleased with the outcome," Miskinis said Tuesday afternoon. "However, given the facts, the only lawful and appropriate decision was made."

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced in January that Sheskey would not face charges. He said Sheskey and other officers would have had a strong 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 said at the time. 

One of Blake's attorneys, Patrick Salvi Jr., said Sheskey returning to full duty without discipline was very surprising. "How can anyone say this is a desired result for a police encounter?" Salvi asked. 

Calling it a "very sad state of affairs" that the Kenosha police department would believe Sheskey had acted in accordance with policy and training, Salvi said, "But that's not true and we'll prove it in our lawsuit." Blake had filed a civil lawsuit accusing the officer of excessive force. 

The August shooting incident, which was captured on camera by a bystander, had triggered widespread protests against police brutality and racism across the country. 

Sheskey and two other Kenosha officers were trying to arrest Blake when a knife fell from his pants during a scuffle. Blake said he was trying to pick it up and head to the vehicle to drive away with two of his children in the back seat. 

But, Sheskey reportedly told investigators that he fired at Blake because he thought Blake was trying to kidnap a child.

The shooting left Blake with serious damages to his colon, small intestine, kidney, liver and stomach, his attorney had said. 

Fresh protests erupted in Minnesota after the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, at a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb over the weekend. As Minneapolis, Saint Paul and other metro cities have put in place new curfews to curb the unrest, the police officer who shot Wright has resigned along with the city's police chief.  

Officer Kim Potter submitted her letter of resignation Tuesday morning, Mayor Mike Elliott said in a news conference, adding that the city was moving toward firing her. Police Chief Tim Gannon also resigned Tuesday. 

Wright's death has shaken a city that was already unsettled after George Floyd's death during a police arrest in May last year. 

Protesters raise their fists during a demonstration against the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin Protesters raise their fists during a demonstration against the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin Photo: AFP / Kerem Yucel