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Excerpt: "One system lets armed white insurrectionists attack our nation's government. Another tear-gasses and beats people defending Black lives."

Jacob Blake's father, Jacob Blake Sr. wears a justice for Jacob mask at a rally on Aug. 29, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. (photo: Morry Gash/AP)
Jacob Blake's father, Jacob Blake Sr. wears a justice for Jacob mask at a rally on Aug. 29, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. (photo: Morry Gash/AP)

There Are Two Justice Systems in America. Ask My Nephew, Jacob Blake

By Justin Blake, Guardian UK

13 January 21

One system lets armed white insurrectionists attack our nation’s government. Another tear-gasses and beats people defending Black lives

ast week, I was again reminded that we live under two justice systems. One lets armed white insurrectionists violently attack our nation’s seat of government. Another gasses, beats, and shoots rubber bullets at people defending Black lives. And even though I live nowhere near Washington DC, this is personal for me.

The day before the attempted insurrection at the US Capitol, Rusten Sheskey got off scot-free. He is the Kenosha cop who shot my nephew, Jacob Blake, seven times in the back. The Kenosha district attorney, Michael Gravely, declined to charge Sheskey, and he faces no consequences. Jacob is now permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

Sheskey is just like the thousands of Trump-supporting, white nationalists who laid siege to the US Capitol in broad daylight. They broke windows, stole federal property, and ransacked offices. They endangered lawmakers, their staff, and other employees in the complex. They may have exposed countless people to Covid-19. They had flex cuffs and placed pipe bombs. They were out for blood.

This justice system calls these people “protesters”, and they are protected by the first amendment. Sheskey operates under this justice system, and it is unacceptable. He claimed self-defense after he shot Jacob in the back, in front of his kids, also in broad daylight. No plausible explanation exists for this escalated response.

The fact that the Capitol insurrection and Jacob’s shooting both happened in broad daylight shows how barefaced state-sanctioned violence has become.

Gravely is the top prosecutor in Kenosha. His decision makes crystal clear to Black people in Kenosha and Wisconsin that we are not safe in our communities. It’s proof that police are allowed to shoot us at will. And the Kenosha police department lives off our backs – they are funded by our taxes. Cops will take our money and shoot us right after.

But it’s not just the police. Violent militias stalk our neighborhoods, taking community security into their own hands to defend businesses. It is despicable that Gravely chose to announce his decision when he knew these militias, who support shooting protesters, are planted within our community.

If we lived under a justice system that valued Black lives, this is what would happen next.

The Kenosha Police and Fire Commission would immediately terminate Rusten Sheskey. Kenosha police chief Daniel Miskinis and Kenosha county sheriff David Beth would realize they have tolerated racism within the police department and let the militia kill community members. In response, they would resign. Armed militias threatening our community would be treated as the violent terror groups they are, and authorities would protect us from them. The Kenosha police department would adopt the #8cantwait platform, which includes requiring de-escalation and comprehensive reporting to prevent future police shootings. In the meantime, body cameras would be implemented by the Kenosha police department. The investigation of Jacob’s shooting would be fully transparent and all related documents would be released to the public. Jacob would get justice.

But we’re not there yet. That’s why we’re rising up. Jacob deserves better than this. Kenosha deserves better than this. Black lives may not matter to Gravely but they matter to us.

We will fight this decision in every single way. We will march to demand Sheskey’s firing. We will support our community like we always have. We will continue to protect each other in the face of police violence and of those who invade our community to hurt us.

We are committed to nonviolence and we ask the Kenosha police department and the national guard not to harm peaceful protesters as they did last summer. We ask them to do their job and protect us from armed militias instead of turning a blind eye to them like they did last summer. We ask people from out of town not to come and burn our buildings, but instead, to stand strong with our community to demand an end to violent, racist policing in Kenosha, in Wisconsin, and in the United States.

We ask our community to stay safe. Our fight for justice continues. your social media marketing partner
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