The decision not to charge any of the officers involved in the August shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha drew many similar reactions: it was no surprise, it was frustrating and the nation’s justice system must be reformed.
But others praised the decision and pleaded for calm in its aftermath.
Here are updating reactions to the decision.
WISCONSIN LEADERS AND LOCAL INSTITUTIONS
Gov. Tony Evers
Evers called Tuesday’s decision “further evidence that our work is not done.”
“We must work each day in earnest toward a more just, more fair, and more equitable state and country, and to combat the racism experienced by Black Wisconsinites,” Evers said.
He also asked for those protesting the decision to gather peacefully and safely.
“I hope for peace and justice for Jacob, his family, and the entire Kenosha community,” he said.
Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association
The leader of the state’s largest law enforcement union applauded Graveley’s decision in a tweet and said the case should stand as an example of a “cautionary tale of the dangers of rendering judgment without the benefit of definitive facts.”
He said those facts, that Blake was armed with a knife and Sheskey felt threatened, run counter to a “wholly inaccurate and false” narrative in the aftermath of the shooting.
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes
In a series of tweets, Barnes said he wished he was shocked by the decision, but called it “another instance in a string of misapplications of justice” in police shootings across the country.
“The non-prosecuting (district attorneys) are as negligent as the officers in these situations,” Barnes wrote. “Police accountability is one thing, but there’s a much deeper failure that allows a person to see the footage and ultimately determine nothing went wrong.”
Republican Congressman Bryan Steil
Steil, who represents Kenosha, did not comment on Graveley’s decision but did call for peaceful demonstrations and constructive dialogue to continue in its wake.
“This has been a difficult period for Kenosha, but, when the riots ended, constructive dialogue began and must continue,” Steil said. “We also need to continue supporting what is working and fixing what is wrong.
“I support everyone’s First Amendment rights to lawfully express their views on the decision, whether you agree with it or not,” he continued. “However, any form of criminal activity in Kenosha must not be tolerated.”
Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan
State Sen. Melissa Agard, D-Madison
Agard called the situation in Kenosha an example of a “broken system that desperately needs comprehensive reform.”
“We cannot continue the inaction — folks must be held accountable,” she said.
Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore
State Rep. David Bowen, D-Milwaukee
Chris Ott, executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin
Ott ripped Graveley’s decision as one that continues a “cycle of enabling police violence and evading accountability when they seriously injure and harm a Black person.”
“As we’ve seen so many times before, the police in this case were held to a different standard of responsibility than the rest of us,” Ott said in his statement. “Kenosha has given another terrible example in a national pattern of police using excessive force against people of color during routine encounters, escalating situations instead of defusing them and then being given a pass.”
Khary Penebaker of the Wisconsin chapter of Moms Demand Action
The Moms Demand Action group and the Everytown Survivor Network called for changes to use-of-force policies and more police accountability.
“As a new legislative session begins, leaders in the Wisconsin legislature must answer the calls to adopt common-sense police accountability and public safety laws that ensure all Wisconsinites are served,” Penebaker said.
Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry
The Bucks organized an unprecedented wildcat strike during the NBA playoffs last August in reaction to Blake’s shooting. Tuesday Lasry said Graveley’s decision leaves Blake’s family without the justice they deserve.
The team also released a statement, pledging to continue to work to end racial and social injustice.
“This past year shed light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African American and other marginalized communities,” the statement reads. “Reoccurring instances of excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging the Black community must stop.”
Marquette men’s basketball team
The Marquette men’s basketball team decided to wear black uniforms for Tuesday night’s game against the Connecticut Huskies.
The gesture is in support of Blake, his family and the Kenosha community, the team said in a statement.
“We are extremely disappointed in the decision involving Jacob’s shooting and we will continue to use our platform to advocate and fight for racial justice,” the statement reads. “This is another reminder that just because racial and social injustice hasn’t received as much attention recently, doesn’t mean the need to fight against it has gone away.”
PEOPLE CONNECTED WITH THE CASE
In a statement posted Tuesday, Blake’s attorneys Benjamin Crump, Patrick Salvi and B’Ivory LaMarr said they are “immensely disappointed” in Graveley’s decision.
“We feel this decision failed not only Jacob and his family, but the community that protested and demanded justice,” the statement said. “The District Attorney’s decision not to charge the officer who shot Jacob in the back multiple times, leaving him paralyzed, further destroys trust in our justice system. This sends the wrong message to police officers throughout the country.”
Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian
In a video posted to Twitter, Antaramian said he and Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis are reviewing the thousand pages of the investigation.
“We will share our perspective and comments with you as soon as possible,” he said.
“Our overriding concern is for the safety of our community, those who live and work here in kenosha, and those who have gathered here to express their opinions.”
“I want to make this clear. We respect your right to peacefully protest and will protect peaceful demonstrations.”
But Kenosha “will not, cannot tolerate” violence seen there earlier this year, he said.
Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis
In the same video, Miskinis said he has not reviewed investigation documents but has confidence in the decision.
“I believe the police use of force deserves scrutiny and I am convinced the painstaking review supports that Officer Sheskey was forced to make a decision in seconds, and that his decision to shoot was not malicious, or in any way criminal.”
He said he understands people may disagree.
“We respect the right to peacefully protest,” he said, and urged people to remain calm and not resort to illegal assembly or violence.
Pete Deates, president of the Kenosha Professional Police Association
Deates criticized what he said was the spread of false information about the shooting.
“I don’t expect our State’s top elected officials to apologize for their part in perpetuating the spread of misinformation, fanning the flames of civil unrest and pitting people against the police,” Deates said in a statement.
“I do however hope they could at least take a proactive role in encouraging everyone to accept the facts obtained from the independent investigation done by the Wisconsin Department of Justice and help our community start to heal,” he said.
Deates said Blake should have complied with the officers’ order during his encounter with them in August.
“If he had, nobody, including the entire Kenosha community would have had to endure the pain and suffering that ensued,” Deates said.
A federal civil rights investigation into Blake’s shooting is ongoing, said Matthew D. Krueger, U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and Eric S. Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
The FBI is conducting the investigation with help from the and Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation.
Prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office and DOJ’s Civil Rights Division will make a charging decision in the case.
“Federal authorities are committed to investigating this matter as thoroughly and efficiently as possible,” Krueger and Dreiband said in a statement.