Jacob Blake shooting: Kenosha braces for unrest with charging decision expected in January

KENOSHA, Wis. (WLS) -- Kenosha, Wisconsin is preparing for more unrest when the charging decision in the police shooting of Jacob Blake comes down.

Blake was shot several times in the back on August 23. The shooting left him paralyzed from the waist down and led to violent protests, riots and looting.

WARNING: Disturbing video -- Kenosha police shooting caught on video


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Video posted on social media Sunday show one officer grabbing the man's shirt from behind and then firing into the vehicle.



Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian said a decision by District Attorney Michael Graveley on whether or not to charge the officer involved in the shooting, identified by authorities as Officer Rusten Sheskey, could come in the first two weeks of January.

Sheskey and the other officers who were at the scene have been placed on administrative leave.

The Kenosha City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve an emergency declaration that would go into effect immediately following the decision. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has also authorized the Wisconsin National Guard to assist in controlling any civil unrest.

Jacob Blake's family said they're preparing for an announcement they've waited months to hear, but are also bracing for disappointment. Whatever the decision is, the Blake family and other activists they work with are begging anyone who joins demonstrations to keep them peaceful.

"Police Officer Shesky needs to be fired, indicted, have his day in court, and convicted," Justin Blake said. "Justice could have taken place long before it got 20 and 30 below."

More than four months after Kenosha police Officer Rusten Shesky shot Jacob Blake seven times, Blake's father is still waiting for justice.

"Attempted murder. He tried to kill my son," Jacob Blake Sr. said.

Police have said they recovered a knife inside Blake's car, and officers were responding to a domestic call. They say Jacob Blake didn't follow officers' orders, and video shows Officer Sheskey firing multiple times into Blake's back as he leaned into the car where his young children sat inside.

"Although they're trying to use a scapegoat for the police officer, but he did wrong instead. He fired a revolver less than a foot from the heads of the children he was supposed to be trying to save," Justin Blake said.

Cries for justice have now spanned seasons. In sweltering summer heat to frigid winter evenings, activists have circled the now snow-covered streets of Kenosha demanding the officer be fired.

"Based on what's happened in our country, it's probably not going to go in Jacob's favor because they don't value us, our lives. They value the properties and businesses," said Tanya McLean, an activist with Leaders of Kenosha.

Mayor Antaramian and Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said they are working on plans to protect peaceful protests and prevent the unrest like that seen in the days following the shooting.

WATCH: Kenosha businesses board up, bracing for potential civil unrest
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Some Kenosha businesses are boarding up again in anticipation of a decision in the police shooting of Jacob Blake.



Some Kenosha businesses boarded up again in anticipation of the charging decision.

"It's an uneasy feeling. We don't know what's going to happen," said Ajillian Burrell-Warfield. Her husband was helping to re-install boards to protect her hair salon, Textures RX.

"I took them down for the holidays so that I could put up holiday decorations and try to get back some normalcy," Burrell-Warfield said.

But now, there's a sense of dread among some business owners in the city after hearing that anytime in the next two weeks, there could be a decision whether to charge the officer who shot Blake seven times last August, leaving him paralyzed.

They hope to be spared from a repeat of the civil unrest and destruction that took place for weeks afterward.

"They busted our windows, they busted our equipment," said Colleen Gimik, of Jackson Hewitt. "My hope is that people from outside of our communities stay outside of our community."

Justin Blake said his nephew is focused on his recovery and an inspiration to his family. He wanted to encourage the community to come together call for justice in his case. He said they are hoping for charges in this case, but are pleading with the community to stay peaceful.

"People have the right to be upset," Justin Blake said. "We are just asking them to be upset and make a lot of noise with the Blake family today, without being destructive."
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