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City officials in Kenosha, Wisconsin are bracing for potential unrest when a local prosecutor announces whether a white cop will be charged in the case of Jacob Blake, a black man left paralyzed when the officer shot him in the back.
The Kenosha City Council on Monday is due to vote on an emergency declaration to prepare for “potential civil unrest” if DA Michael Graveley opts not to charge Police Officer Rusten Sheskey in the Aug. 23 shooting, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said.
Graveley is due to announce his decision within the next two weeks, the newspaper said.
Blake, 29, was shot seven times in the back by Sheskey, who was responding to a call involving a domestic disturbance at the time. The Kenosha police union has said cops went to the scene because of a complaint that Blake was trying to steal the caller’s keys and vehicle.
Police said officers thought Blake was reaching for a weapon in his car when he was shot in front of his children, who were inside the vehicle.
At some point, Blake admitted to police that he had a knife in his possession. Officers recovered a knife under the driver’s side floorboard of his car, authorities have said, although it was not clear when.
Blake was released from a Milwaukee hospital in October to begin rehabilitation.
The caught-on-video shooting sparked widespread protests and looting in the city, adding fire to ongoing Black Lives Matter protests from the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police in Minneapolis and Louisville, respectively.
The Kenosha unrest led to another high-profile shooting when Kyle Rittenhouse, an Illinois teenager who had joined the armed militia in the city, shot and killed two protesters and wounded a third — in what his lawyers contend was self-defense.