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When will we get justice for Jacob Blake?

What must we do to get justice?

That’s what I’m asking after the Kenosha Wisconsin D.A. failed to charge a white cop for shooting a Black man in the back. 

The victim, Jacob Blake, had been trying to break up an argument between two women, and as he walked back to his vehicle, Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey repeatedly shot Blake in the back, paralyzing him as his children watched from the car. 

Cops and the D.A. claim Blake had a knife. His family says he didn’t, and when the world watched the video, we didn’t see a knife, either. Protests erupted across the country, and yesterday, after a months-long investigation, Kenosha County D.A. Michael Graveley announced that Sheskey would not be charged. 

Claiming that his office reviewed 40 hours of squad video for an incident that took only minutes, Gravely acted as if Blake’s life didn’t matter.

The question now is simple: What must we do to get justice? When D.A.’s act like defense attorneys for the police, when the justice system is a tool of oppression, when citizen protest is met with government violence, what must we do to get justice?

The victim’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., had an answer. “This has to be federally heard,” he said. “Not just for my son, but for everyone who suffered police brutality. Everyone. We can’t sit around anymore. We can’t wait.”

He’s right, because authorities in Kenosha showed more concern for Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two people protesting Blake’s shooting, than they’ve shown for Blake himself. 

I know that because just like we saw video of a cop shooting Blake, we saw video of cops thanking Rittenhouse for coming to town with an AR-15, supposedly to guard local businesses.    

In a cruel twist, Rittenhouse pleaded not guilty to homicide on the day the D.A. decided not to charge the cop who shot Blake. But in a world where cops get away with shooting Black men in the back, let’s hope Rittenhouse can’t get away with killing protesters.

Photo: Jacob Blake March in New York City by Pamela Drew. Creative Commons License

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