The family of Jacob Blake and Kenosha community leaders on Monday called for police officer Rusten Sheskey to be fired in the shooting that left Blake paralyzed.
Six days after Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley decided Sheskey will not face charges in the August shooting, Blake’s uncle, Justin Blake, said he believes his family will get justice in the future.
“We’re not worried about a thing. We know right is right,” Justin Blake said. “Justice is coming to Jacob Blake, we promise you.”
Speaking to reporters before a march around the Kenosha Municipal Building Monday evening, Justin Blake said supporters of his nephew need to “keep chugging along.”
Justin and Jacob Blake Sr. are planning to go to Washington, D.C. for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Peace Rally next week. The two also plan to meet with President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Justin Blake said.
The family wants to meet with lawmakers to “give them insight to how this devastates your family and your community, and why laws must be changed to protect each and every citizen of the United States,” Justin Blake said.
Demonstrators gathered Monday to urge Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian and the city’s Police and Fire Commission to fire Sheskey and to implement “long-term” use-of-force policing reforms, said Erica Ness of the community group Leaders of Kenosha.
“Kenosha is not safe with Rusten Sheskey continuing to be on the police department,” she said.
As he marched with a group of about 40 people, Jacob Ansari of Racine held a sign that read, “Fire Sheskey.”
“It’s the mere minimum of police accountability,” Ansari said. “They seem to have completely lost track of the idea that the police department is there to serve the community and not to terrorize it.”
Sa’Darrell Johnson of Racine and Sarah Garnett of Kenosha, who also marched, said the news that Sheskey would not face charges was a disappointment but not a surprise.
The world “hasn’t changed as much as we like to say,” Garnett said.
Johnson, who is Black, said he’s “always on alert” when he sees police in public, even though he hasn’t done anything to warrant their attention.
“As a person of color (protesting) feels like a responsibility for me,” Johnson said, “because I can’t expect someone else to march for people who look like me if I won’t do it myself.”
The march Monday in freezing temperatures lasted about an hour. Police squads moved to block traffic at intersections as the group marched around the block near the municipal building, holding signs and chanting.
It’s crucial the movement against police violence maintains the energy of the summer’s massive protests and marches, Justin Blake said.
“Now we’ve got to focus that same energy and power that we showed that we have, not just for justice for Jake, but justice for all the little Jakes in Kenosha, in Racine and around this nation,” he said.