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Former Madison police chief selected to review Jacob Blake shooting investigation

Posted at 6:32 PM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 08:39:29-04

KENOSHA — The Wisconsin Department of Justice has selected former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray as outside consultant to review the investigation into the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely had previously asked Attorney General Josh Kaul to select a consultant to review the DA's investigation, and on Monday Kaul announced Wray had been appointed to the temporary position.

Monday is the 29th day since the shooting of Blake, when on Aug. 23 Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey fired his gun seven times into Blake's back.

Sheskey has not been charged in the shooting. Blake remains in the hospital with severe injuries.

Following Monday's update, the investigation's files will pass to former chief Wray. Once he has decided he has finished his analysis of the investigation, the files will be passed back to DA Gravely, who will then make a decision regarding criminal charges.

“At the request of DA Graveley, I have identified an independent expert who can help ensure a just outcome in this case,” said Attorney General Kaul. “Noble Wray is a longtime Wisconsin resident and a widely respected retired Madison Police Chief who has extensive experience in law enforcement, including experience at the national level as a police reform specialist for the U.S. Department of Justice.”

Wray is a Milwaukee native and a 29-year veteran of the Madison police department. Wray led the department following the deadly police shooting of Paul Heenan in 2013, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Wray decided then to postpone his retirement to finish the investigation into that shooting.

Following his retirement as Madison’s chief in 2013, Wray has become a national leader in working on police reform, fighting racism and educating about implicit bias, according to the Associated Press.

The DOJ's Division of Criminal Investigation typically aims to provide its report to the prosecutor, in this case DA Gravely, within 30 days of an officer-involved shooting.

Blake's shooting sparked protests across Kenosha and the country, which also led to unrest and damage to businesses.

According to previous updates from Kaul, the DA's Office and the Kenosha Police Department, Kenosha police officers were called to a residence in the 2800 block of 40th Street on Aug. 23, where a woman reported that her boyfriend was there and was not supposed to be on the premises.

At the the home, Kenosha officers attempted to arrested 29-year-old Blake. Officers first used a Taser on Blake, but the attempt to detain him was not successful.

Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey
Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey (Credit: Kenosha News)

Blake then walked to his vehicle, opened the driver's door and leaned forward.

That's when Officer Sheskey fired his service handgun seven times into Blake's back. No other officer fired their weapon.

Because the Kenosha Police Department does not have body cameras, none of the responding officers, including Sheskey, were wearing body cameras.

Kenosha amid unrest
Bystanders look on as cars burn after protesters set fire to a used auto lot late Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. Protesters converged on the county courthouse during a second night of clashes after the police shooting of Jacob Blake a day earlier turned Kenosha into the nation’s latest flashpoint city in a summer of racial unrest. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

An investigation launched by the DOJ's Division of Criminal Investigation following the shooting found that Blake admitted to having a knife in his possession during the incident. DCI agents found a knife in the driver’s side floorboard of Blake's vehicle.

After Sheskey shot Blake, officers provided medical aid to Blake, and Flight for Life transported him to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. Blake remains at the hospital, where his family says he is paralyzed from the waist down.

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