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Jacob Blake’s uncle Justin Blake issues a statement to the press on January 5, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, US. — AFP pic
Jacob Blake’s uncle Justin Blake issues a statement to the press on January 5, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, US. — AFP pic

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WASHINGTON, Oct 9 — US authorities said yesterday they will not bring federal criminal charges against a white police officer who shot a Black man in the back several times in an incident that rekindled anti-racism anger in America.

On August 23, 2020, Jacob Blake was shot and wounded in front of his three sons as police in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin tried to arrest him over a domestic violence incident. The shooting left Blake paralysed from the waist down.

A video of the shooting, posted online, revived anger at police violence against Black Americans three months after the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer and sparked several days of unrest in Kenosha.

The Justice Department said in a statement that it will not press charges against the officer with the Kenosha Police Department because it does not have sufficient evidence “to prove that the KPD officer willfully used excessive force.”

The shooting sparked rioting in Kenosha, a town in the Great Lakes region, which culminated on August 25 when a 17-year-old man linked to a militia group opened fire at demonstrators with a semi-automatic rifle, killing two and injuring one.

Blake’s shooting spurred anger in the world of American sports, with several NBA matches postponed in protest.

In January, state authorities in Wisconsin similarly declined to prosecute the agents involved in Blake’s shooting, on the grounds that he was armed with a knife during the arrest.

“After a careful and thorough review, a team of experienced federal prosecutors determined that insufficient evidence exists to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the KPD officer willfully violated the federal criminal civil rights statutes,” the Justice Department said. — AFP

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