Opinion: Black to Normal 2021: How the No Charges Verdict for The Jacob Blake Case Shows How Little Progress Was Made After The Racial Reckoning of 2020


At 4:17pm, on January 5th, 2021, MSNBC broke from it’s 24/7 coverage of the Georgia Runoff and growing crowds to protest the electoral college coronation of Joe Biden in DC, to announce BREAKING NEWS. The Kenosha, Wisconsin police officers who shot Jacob Blake  seven times in the back will not face any charges.

During the afternoon press conference, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley stated that he would discuss the issue for an hour. He stated that no charges will be brought up against Rusten Sheskey, the 31-year-old Kenosha police officer who was never fired, but instead was put on administrative leave pending the investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice due to the shooting on Aug. 23, 2020.

According to witnesses, Blake was unarmed and shot in the back as he walked towards his car. Graveley stated the decision came after viewing 40 hours of police videos and over 200 reports totaling over 1,500 pages. He confidently stated that it was the “most independent and charging decision that possibly could be done”. Gravely also stated that Jacob Blake (who survived the shooting) will also not face any charges.

Once the decision was announced, MSNBC switched back to Georgia but Fox News did a five minute analysis. The pundit stated that the law is different than perception or public opinion and that the bar is very high to convict a police officer. The verdict was decided based on the reasonable fear on the part of the officers and their legal right to draw their weapons. The number of shots is not the issue, it’s the notion of intent. Did the officers have a right to shoot?

He also criticized the district attorney for mentioning that Jacob Blake will not face any charges. He stated that while, that may be true, it might not have been needed to be stated during a press conference that will already stir up anger from Blake’s family and supporters.

My Two Cents

After 41 years of being Black in America, I’ve noticed that the notion of truth beyond a reasonable doubt is used to justify why cops are not convicted but Black people are not held to that same standard when they are accused or shot. The burden of proof always seems too high for Black people to obtain justice. Meanwhile, the President and several Karens have and continue to make up bogus claims about everything ranging from election fraud to iPhone ownership and their claims are more credible than video footage of someone shot in the back.

Despite the multiracial marches all summer long in 2020, we already see that the start of 2021, despite a change in administration and a Black woman as Vice President, will be more of the same. This verdict shows that the Biden Harris administration will have to do a lot both legally and logistically to ensure equality. What will happen not if, but when the first Black person is shot by a cop under Biden/Harris’ watch? How will they respond?

The issue is that the law does not equal justice.

We see something horrible on video, and then months later we hear an hour long press conference “explaining” why there will be no convictions.

To gain further clarity I spoke to a Black lawyer about the distance between law and justice that for Black people seems like a never ending marathon with hurdles and dropped batons.

Malik Shakur ESQ stated that although the law is supposed to be unbiased, the burden of proof when someone is Black is beyond belief. Our founding fathers were racists, the entire institution of law is racist, law schools are racist, hence many Black law students drop out and unfortunately when it comes to verdicts, racism sabotages Black people as well. He started that if Jacob Blake’s shooters were Black and Jacob Blake was white, the cops would have been convicted.

Malik then brought up previous examples of white people benefitting from the law including Dylan Roof, who after killing nine people in a Black church was escorted by police to get fast food and the Black cop in Minneapolis who was convicted of shooting and killing a white woman.

In closing, as along as Whiteness continues to feel entitled and hold on to power, there will be a lot of unrest in 2021. From the election fraud coup, to defying mask ordinances, Black people need to continue to stay vigilant in 2021 to ensure our safety and sustainability. Blacklivesmatter may have faded from the intersections of city streets in Brooklyn, Harlem, D.C., and elsewhere, but the need for safety, security and sanity is as BLURGENT🚨 (Black + Urgent) as ever. 

Malik Shakur is an intellectual property attorney, activist and entrepreneur. https://iclick2media.com

@malikshakur on IG

About Kanene Holder

Kenene Holder attended Howard University. She is an actress and journalist.

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