Jacob Blake’s uncle was among three protesters arrested in demonstrations Sunday over the officer who shot Blake returning to active duty.
Justin S. Blake, the uncle of the man Kenosha police officer Rusten Shesky shot seven times while responding to a domestic incident last year, was arrested for disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer after blocking the public entrance to the Kenosha County Public Safety Building, according to the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department (KCSD).
As of noon Monday, the three people arrested had posted bonds and were no longer in county custody, according to KCSD.
The protest was just the latest demonstration over the incident that became part of a larger summer of reckoning over policing and racial bias in the US. The August 23 shooting resulted in 29-year-old Blake being paralyzed from the waist down.
Sheskey, a White officer, recently returned to active duty after being cleared of all wrongdoing in the shooting of Blake, a Black man. Justin Blake told CNN the family wasn’t made aware the officer was returning from administrative leave.
Around 5 p.m. Sunday, after a calm march, approximately 25 protesters gathered in front of the public entrance of the Public Safety Building, the only way for citizens to access the sheriff’s department, the police department or Kenosha Joint Services, according to the KCSD.
Over the next few hours, the group dwindled to 10 and officers asked the group relocate, KCSD said, adding that several members of the community came to the building and were either dissuaded or had to be escorted in.
By 10 pm, four people remained seated at the front door. One protester left the position after deputies arrived, but the three people who remained were placed under arrest, according to KCSD.
Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis issued a statement Monday saying that while his department was actively working to improve its relationships “with all of Kenosha,” he questioned the motives of at least some of the protestors.
“We are always open to constructive communication; however, we cannot effectively communicate with those that seek a spotlight to create and further facilitate a false narrative,” Miskinis said in a statement. “Community growth, building relationships – these ideas need to be our focus, not creating barriers.”
“Kenosha Police will not respond to demands, nor will we entertain the unlawful termination of a police officer,” the chief added.
Despite the arrests, KCSD said it “recognized and respects the rights” of citizens to protest.
“These targeted arrests of the three protesters that were blocking the door to the Public Safety Building should not ignore that the majority of people today had been out for hours during an incredibly peaceful protest,” according to KCSD.