The police officer who shotin Wisconsin and left him paralyzed last summer has returned to work, the Kenosha Police Department announced Tuesday, saying “he acted within the law.”
In a statement, Kenosha police chief Daniel Miskinis said officer Rusten Sheskey returned from administrative leave on March 31. He said Sheskey will also not face any punishment, citing internal and external probes of his actions in the shooting. Sheskey is White and Blake is Black.
“Officer Sheskey was not charged with any wrong doing,” he said. “He acted within the law and was consistent with training… Officer Sheskey was found to have been acting within policy and will not be subjected to discipline.”
Miskinis acknowledged that “some will not be pleased” with the decision to have Sheskey return, but “given the facts, the only lawful and appropriate decision was made.”
Sheskey was responding to a domestic dispute on August 23 when he fired his weapon seven times as Blake attempted to get inside an SUV. Investigators have said they found a knife inside the vehicle, but his family has denied that he was armed.
Sheskey told investigators that he feared for his safety so he opened fire. A Wisconsin prosecutor declined to file criminal charges against Sheskey, saying he couldn’t disprove the officer’s contention that he acted in self-defense because he thought Blake would stab him.
Blake survived, but wasto walk. He filed against Sheskey last month, accusing him of excessive force. The lawsuit said Shaskey’s actions were “undertaken with malice, willfulness, and reckless indifference to the rights” of Blake.
The shooting sparked nationwide outrage in a year that saw intense scrutiny of systemic racism and how police officers treat Black Americans and communities of color. It happened three months after George Floyd died while being restrained by police officers in Minneapolis. The white officer charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s killing is currently on trial.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.