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Emergency declaration approved in Kenosha ahead of possible charges in Jacob Blake shooting

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely is expected to make an announcement within the first two weeks of January.

The city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, approved an emergency declaration ahead of the county district attorney's announcement on whether charges will be filed in the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

The City Council said Monday that the resolution will take effect immediately after Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley makes his decision public, citing protests over the summer in the wake of Blake's Aug. 23 shooting.

Blake, a Black man, was left paralyzed from the waist down after Officer Rusten Sheskey, who is white, shot him at close range.

Sheskey and the two other officers involved, Vincent Arenas and Brittany Meronek, were placed on administrative leave after the shooting, according to the state Department of Justice.

Gravely has not said when he will deliver his decision, but Mayor John Antaramian said it is expected to come within the first two weeks of January.

Image: Jacob Blake
Jacob Blake.Facebook

The emergency declaration will last for eight days unless the Council extends it. If Graveley's ruling is delayed beyond Jan. 16, the declaration would not go into effect.

Kenosha saw large demonstrations and civil unrest sparked by the shooting, which was captured on video. Two protesters were killed and a third was injured. Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, of Antioch, Illinois has been charged in connection to the shootings. His lawyers have said he "did nothing wrong" and acted in self-defense.

The city is preparing for more protests following Graveley's ruling. In a statement Sunday, Antaramian and Police Chief Daniel Miskinis announced that there will be a designated space for demonstrations, limited city bus routes, curfews and road closings.

"Our responsibility to public safety is paramount, and we are preparing for a number of possible public demonstration and safety efforts," the statement read.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said Monday that he was mobilizing 500 National Guard troops.

"Our members of the National Guard will be on hand to support local first responders, ensure Kenoshans are able to assemble safely, and to protect critical infrastructure as necessary," he said in a statement.

Blake was shot seven times in the back after officers responded to a domestic violence report. His attorney, Benjamin Crump, has said that Blake was "helping to de-escalate a domestic incident" when an officer shot him from behind as he walked away.