As the country waits on a charging decision in the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, his family and activists are calling for loud, but non-violent, marches and demonstrations in the lead-up to, and in the aftermath of, that decision.
The decision from Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley is expected to be announced within the next two weeks, and as city and county officials prepare for the aftermath of that decision, activists are pushing for the public to remain non-violent and to avoid a repeat of the damage and destruction that took place after the Aug. 2020 shooting.
“We want everyone to come out and to be as loud as they want, but we don’t want destruction of property,” activist Tanya McLean said at a press conference Monday. “We’re for non-violence. Anything else isn’t acceptable for this community. If you are going to come out and join us, we ask you to do so non-violently.
“There’s a difference between peace and non-violence, and we’re going to practice non-violence,” she added.
McLean was joined by members of Blake’s family, who called on Kenosha residents and supporters to not only protest and demonstrate in the aftermath of the decision, but to carry that momentum forward as part of a new movement against violent acts by police.
“My message to Kenosha is this: let’s stand up and make some noise,” Jacob Blake Sr. said. “Let’s be heard around the world. We’re not going to stop in Kenosha. This has to be a federally heard thing, not just for my son but for everyone who’s suffered police brutality.”
The decision on whether to charge any of the officers involved in the shooting is expected soon. Those officers, including officer Rusten Sheskey, have been on administrative leave since the shooting occurred in August.
During the shooting, Blake, who is Black, was shot in the back seven times after walking away from Sheskey and two other officers who were trying to arrest him. Sheskey shot Blake after he opened an SUV driver’s side door and leaned into the vehicle.
The shooting left Blake paralyzed from the waist down, and set off a nationwide firestorm of controversy. In Kenosha, protests and demonstrations began almost immediately, and several nights of looting and vandalism took place, resulting in millions of dollars in damages.
City and county officials are preparing safety measures ahead of the charging decision in the case, including placing limits on city bus routes, closing roads, instituting curfews and designating demonstration spaces.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers also activated the state’s National Guard to assist civilian authorities when the decision comes down.
It is unclear when the decision will be revealed, but it is expected to be announced within the next two weeks.