(Photo c/o Chali Pittman)
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul has identified the Kenosha Police Officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back on Sunday. The officer, Rusten Sheskey, has served on the Kenosha Police force for seven years.
Kaul also largely confirmed media reports about the circumstances surrounding the shooting, but stopped short of providing additional information, including the name of the second officer on the scene.
“This is an ongoing investigation, so that is the extent of the information that we can share at this point,” Kaul said at a press conference yesterday. “But the investigation remains ongoing.”
The Wisconsin Department of Justice, under Kaul, is spearheading the investigation into the shooting of Blake. The DOJ’s Department of Criminal Investigation will be working with the Wisconsin State Patrol, FBI and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office on the investigation, with plans to release details on the shooting to the Kenosha District Attorney in the next thirty days.
But, the cooperative investigation could face roadblocks, as an inflammatory video of Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth has been circulating online. In the video from 2018, Beth used coded language to advise locking up “these people.”
“Let’s put them away,’ Beth says in the video. “At some point, we have to stop being politically correct. I don’t care what race, how old they are; if there’s a line these people cross, then these people have to be warehoused, no recreational time, in the jails. We put them away for the rest of their lives so the rest of us can be better.”
Now, the American Civil Liberties Union is calling for Beth’s immediate resignation, as well as the resignation of Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis.
Beth’s rant was played before a crowd earlier this afternoon by civil rights leader, the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Jackson stopped in Kenosha to advocate for an end to destruction, and called for peaceful protests in the coming days.
He also said that the recent shootings of Jacob Blake and the murder of two men by 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha on Tuesday were the latest in a trend of police-condoned violence by white men.
“There’s a pattern of killing Black people. When [Dylan] Roof killed nine black people in Charleston, South Carolina, police took him to get a hamburger before going to jail. He walked away. The killer walked away free,” he said.
Rittenhouse was arrested yesterday in Antioch, Illinois, about a half an hour southwest of Kenosha.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he has been tentatively charged with first degree intentional homicide. He’s scheduled for an extradition hearing tomorrow, and is facing potential relocation to Kenosha County to face trial.
Meanwhile, Governor Tony Evers has requested additional National Guard troops from Arizona, Michigan and Alabama.
These troops are not federal agents, but instead fall under administrative control by their respective states.
At a press conference this afternoon, Evers reiterated his call for a special session of the state legislature on Monday to vote on a package of nine police reform bills.
“We need a start, and that’s why I called on the legislature to meet next week, to talk about some policing reform bills that, frankly, have bipartisan support already,” he said. “I’m hoping Republicans can have the wherewithal to come to Madison for a day, and we’ll accommodate them the best way we can.”
Here in Madison, last night’s protests passed peacefully, and the Madison Police Department recorded no new arrests.