Kenosha's mayor and police chief urged residents to remain peaceful regardless of the results of an investigation into the shooting of Jacob Blake.
While it remains unclear when exactly a decision on whether or not the officer involved in the shooting will be charged, Mayor John Antaramian and Police Chief Daniel Miskinis wrote in an op-ed in the Kenosha News Sunday that they are "preparing for the announcement."
"The Wisconsin Department of Justice, independent of the City of Kenosha, conducted the investigation, so we don’t know what that decision will be or when it will be announced," the op-ed reads. "What we do know is that regardless of the decision, people will have differing opinions and strong emotions about it. That is everyone’s right. Whether you agree or disagree, we ask that you express your opinions peacefully and lawfully. We will not — we can not — tolerate the kind of violence we saw on our streets earlier this year and we will take definitive steps to protect our residents and businesses."
The investigation into the shooting was referred to the Wisconsin DOJ’s Department of Criminal Investigations, as is protocol in police shootings. A decision on whether charges will be filed rests with prosecutors after the DCI completes its investigation.
Officials have also requested that a federal civil rights probe be opened by the US Department of Justice, and that probe is continuing concurrently with the state investigation.
In preparation for a potential announcement on charges, the city and its police department said they are working with state and federal partners to "organize a plan that is designed to keep people safe."
According to Kenosha police, officers were attempting arrest 29-year-old Jacob Blake on Aug. 23, following calls from a woman saying her boyfriend was at a residence and was not supposed to be on the premises.
Officers say they attempted to use a taser to subdue Blake during the incident, but the device failed to stop him. Blake is then seen on video walking around his vehicle and then opening his driver’s side door. As he leaned into the vehicle, video shows Kenosha Officer Rusten Sheskey firing his service weapon seven times, striking Blake.
Blake was rushed to an area hospital after the incident, which set off a wave of protests and unrest in the city of Kenosha.
"As we look toward the New Year, we are encouraged by the progress made over the past few months to strengthen and unite Kenosha," the op-ed read. "We are committed to making our city a robust community where young people can find family-supporting jobs that will encourage them to make their homes here and raise their families. We assure you that we are committed to being on the right path. The work is not quick or easy, but we are building a better and stronger Kenosha for all."