Read a PDF of our statement here.

Today, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced that his office would not seek charges against Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey, who shot and paralyzed Jacob Blake on Aug. 23, 2020. In response, Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), issued the following statement:

“Our thoughts are with Jacob Blake and his family as they continue to seek justice despite today’s decision that the officer who shot and paralyzed Mr. Blake will not face charges. The decision by the Kenosha County District Attorney declining to press charges against officer Sheskey – who shot Mr. Blake seven times in front of his children – is another example demonstrating our system of public safety is completely broken.

“The shooting of Mr. Blake again reinforces why peaceful protesters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia took to the streets this summer to call out systemic racism, failures in police accountability, and the need for a new vision of public safety in the United States. As advocates continue to demand redress for officers’ excessive force against communities of color, it is imperative that elected officials prioritize community resources and social services that diminish the role of law enforcement in responding to issues that do not require the response of armed officers and would be better resolved without officers present.

“LDF stands with Mr. Blake and his family in their ongoing pursuit of justice. We will review the information from the investigation that has been publicly released and continue to work with elected officials – including the Biden-Harris administration – to ensure that federal, state, and local officials enforce accountability measures and put communities at the heart of public safety models across the nation.”

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Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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