Protesters hold Justice for Jacob Blake march in Madison

Protesters marched to the Wisconsin Department of Justice Building to demand the arrest of the officer involved in Blake’s shooting.
Published: Aug. 29, 2020 at 10:35 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Nearly one week after a police officer in Kenosha shot Jacob Blake, protesters in Madison marched for justice Saturday afternoon, marching from UW-Madison’s Library Mall to the Wisconsin Department of Justice building. The DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is investigating Blake’s shooting.

“If we don’t demand justice here, justice is not going to come,” said Laëtitia Hollard, one of the organizers of the protest.

Protesters rallied in front of the DOJ building, demanding the officer who shot Jacob Blake, Rusten Sheskey, be arrested.

“It hurt, it hurt a lot,” said protester Jasmine Jackson about Blake’s shooting, adding, “That’s why I say that there needs to be change. You don’t need to shoot somebody in the back seven times to stop them.”

People wrote messages demanding change outside the building and laid down rows of empty shoes, symbolizing black lives lost to the police.

“They are cops and it is a choice. I don’t have a choice, I’m black, I can’t take off my uniform,” Jackson said.

Organizers said they are hopeful when they see the community coming out to support the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Anytime I’m out here, my heart warms up so much,” Hollard said.

However, many out marching said almost 60 years after the historic March on Washington for racial justice, progress can still be frustratingly slow.

“It’s like we take two steps forward and 20 steps back,” said protester Rhoda McKinney.

Hollard added, “We are heard by the community, but we are not heard by the people we vote for.”

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Officer Rusten Sheskey and two other officers were called to a home on Sunday, Aug. 23 after a woman reported that her boyfriend was there, but was not allowed to be present at the home. Officers tried to arrest Blake after they arrived, and two of the officers unsuccessfully deployed Tasers to detain him.

The DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) said Blake walked over to the driver’s side of his car, opened the door and leaned forward. That is when Sheskey fired seven shots, holding onto Blake’s shirt. DCI’s investigation also found that Blake told officers he had a knife, and a knife was found on the driver’s side floorboard of Blake’s car.

An attorney for the Kenosha Professional Police Association on Friday said that Blake was armed with a knife and fought with officers, putting one of them in a headlock.

Blake’s family has said the shooting has left him paralyzed, and he will likely never walk again.

DCI is leading an investigation into Blake’s shooting. Sheskey and the other two officers have been put on administrative leave pending the investigation’s results.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.